04 December 2017

It was a long time between drinks for an Irish-trained winner in the race formerly known as the Hennessy. And how sweet it must have been for Willie Mullins who had to wait for 15 years to right the disqualification of his only previous ‘victor’ in Newbury’s flagship handicap chase, now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Having been more than two lengths down over the last fence,TOTAL RECALL (IRE) caught Whisper inside the final strides of the race to score by a neck under Paul Townend after a stirring duel between the pair.

Mullins was gracious in victory, deflecting a lot of the praise to the former trainer of TOTAL RECALL (IRE), Sandra Hughes. The eight-year-old had been purchased at Tattersalls Ireland’s November Sale in 2009 for €7,000 and was bred by John Connolly.

Also a point-to-point graduate, the winner’s sire, Westerner, stands at Castle Hyde Stud under the Coolmore NH banner, and it might be timely to point out that his full-sister, Rock On Lily (IRE), is entered for a handicap hurdle at Clonmel on Thursday.       

Earlier on the same programme on Saturday, ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE) made virtually all the running in the Grade 2 John Francome Novices’ Chase in the manner of a progressive performer.

Aged just five, he had graduated on three occasions for a combined €187,000 from Goffs sales rings. He sold for just €5,000 as a foal and then for €150,000 at the Horses in Training Sale at Punchestown last year.

Bred by Jay Leahy, ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE), he is a half-brother to three other winners and he began his career in the point-to-point realm. He had the misfortune to bump into the much-touted Samcro (IRE) on that sole start at Monksgrange and to his credit was only beaten one length by that potential superstar.   



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