Irish eyes smile as Total Recall wins thrilling Ladbrokes Trophy
Total Recall produced a storming finish to win a thrilling Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.
The race favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, looked beaten in the closing stages but came back to wear down Whisper with only yards of the race to go, much to the delight and excitement of a crowd of almost 17,000 at the Berkshire racecourse.
In what was a two-horse battle to the finish post, the Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old took the honours on the line by a neck to become the first Irish-trained horse to win the event – previously more commonly known as the Hennessey Gold Cup – for nearly 40 years.
Whisper, ridden by Davy Russell, look to have the race in the bag in the closing stages, but Total Recall never gave up and caught and passed Whisper on the line. Regal Encore trailed in third by a distant nine lengths, with Braqueur D’Or fourth.
2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree has seemingly fallen off the radar in recent times and was hoping for something of a comeback victory here, however that did not materialise as the horse was pulled up having briefly led the field early on.
Until Total Recall’s last gasp success, the record books showed that no Irish-trained horse had won Newbury’s three-and-a-quarter-mile centrepiece race since Bright Highway took the prize in 1980. However a change of big-race sponsor – and therefore name –after 60 years from the Hennessey Gold Cup to the Ladbrokes Trophy, immediately signaled a change in fortunes for the Irish contingent
Townend was only riding after compatriot Ruby Walsh broke his leg in a fall at Punchestown last month, while Total Recall only joined Mullins’ stable earlier this season after former trainer Sandra Hughes’ retirement.
“A lot of the credit must go to Sandra Hughes, who used her father’s [Dessie Hughes] training methods and let this horse progress very slowly,” said Mullins.
“Sandra retired, we just got the benefit of it.
“Paul was fantastic. He was very cool. I thought he was beaten going to the last, but he switched sides and got a different run on the other side, it worked a treat.”
“It’s a tough race for the Irish to win, why I don’t know,” added Mullins.