“I was confident enough I’d got there without wanting to be too confident” insisted jockey Paul Townend after being successful with Total Recall in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Numerous horses have landed the Ladbrokes Trophy on their way to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory and it is a path Total Recall is anticipated take after his hard-fought success.
Having travelled ominously well into the race, the well-backed 9-2 favourite was forced to pull out all the stops before overhauling Whisper in the dying strides, prevailing by the minimal margin to become the first Irish-trained winner since Bright Highway in 1980.
Mullins, whose Be My Royal was disqualified from first place in 2002 after testing positive for a banned substance caused by contaminated food, said: “The horse was very cool, and Paul was very cool. We all thought he was going well until the second-last and it fell apart a bit.
“It is a race that any jumps trainer wants to win. It’s a fantastic race and we have just got to hold on to it this time. It (Be My Royal) was very disappointing at the time, but hopefully that is laid to rest.
“I’d like to compliment Sandra Hughes (previous trainer), who brought this horse on in the style of her father (the late Dessie Hughes) and minded him while he was young horse.
“We will look at more handicaps, but we will have to look if he is better than that. We will let him get over this and recover.
“He will definitely get an entry in the Gold Cup after that run. I imagine the entries will close before he runs again.”
While the winning Jockey Townend believes he will need to improve again if he is to contest the Gold Cup – for which he was given a 20-1 quote by Ladbrokes – he feels that is distinctly possible.
Townend, who picked up a four-day whip ban for his efforts, said: “”I thought I’d thrown it away when I let him pop the second-last and let the other horse go across him, but he’s as tough as old boots. “He’d had to improve a lot again I’d imagine to be a Gold Cup horse, but he’s doing nothing wrong.”