Emmet Mullins admits he may be taking a risk going back left-handed should Cape Gentleman run at Aintree in the Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle.
The Irish Cesarewitch winner made an impressive hurdling debut at Punchestown before running no sort of a race at left-handed Leopardstown.
When he then bounced back to win impressively at Kempton in Grade Two company – going in the opposite direction – Mullins put his lifeless Leopardstown display down to a dislike of left-handed tracks but he is coming round to the view there may have been other factors at play.
“Cape Gentleman will probably go to Aintree for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One,” said Mullins.
“Ground is probably key to him – he’s by Champs Elysees, he definitely wants a bit of nice ground.
“We are taking a bit of a risk going back left-handed after Leopardstown went against us. There were a lot of things went wrong on the day at Leopardstown.
“We are probably taking a bit of a chance going back left-handed in Aintree but I think the ground could be most of it and we won’t know until we try.”
https://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2.58319420-scaled.jpg12802560Geegeez Newshttps://www.geegeez.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/geegeez_banner_new_300x100.pngGeegeez News2021-03-29 10:05:222021-03-29 10:05:22Cape Gentleman on course for Aintree assignment
Emmet Mullins will ponder his Cheltenham Festival options for Cape Gentleman, after he showed plenty of grit in the hands of Jonjo O’Neill Jr to battle back and deny Calico in a thrilling finish to the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.
The five-year-old, who landed the Irish Cesarewitch on his last Flat outing before making a winning hurdling debut at Punchestown, blotted his copybook on his second outing in this sphere when pulled up over two and three-quarter miles at Leopardstown earlier this month.
However, dropping back to two miles suited the Champs Elysees gelding, who injected some speed into a modest early pace and went to the front with over half a mile to run.
Calico loomed large before a tardy leap at the penultimate flight briefly halted his momentum. However, he jumped the last better and headed Cape Gentleman (5-2) on the run to the line, only for O’Neill Jr’s mount to find extra reserves.
His stamina kicked in and the partnership ultimately denied Calico by three-quarters of a length. Lunar Sovereign was a further seven and a half lengths back in third.
The winning jockey said: “I thought Harry (Cobden) might just give me a go at the last as Calico has a lot of Flat form, but I didn’t want to be a sitting duck. He has battled hard. He won a Cheltenham trial today and he’d be entitled to go to Cheltenham.
“It was a very good training performance. He has only had the two runs, but he ran poorly the last day, so that’s why he dropped back in trip, which helped him.
“He loved the (good) ground and was very straightforward today. He battled hard after the last and I’m delighted with his performance.
“Emmet said he was in good form at home. I suppose they can have blips every now and again and the considerable drop back in trip definitely helped.
“As for Cheltenham, I’m not sure he is in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but he is in the Albert Bartlett and the Ballymore, and it looks like the Ballymore would be an obvious one.”
Cape Gentleman ran out an emphatic winner of the Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh.
Formerly trained in France by Nicolas Clement, the four-year-old was snapped up for 80,000 euros by Emmet Mullins last October and made an encouraging start for his new connections when runner-up to Mt Leinster at Listowel last month.
Ronan Whelan’s mount was a 15-2 chance for his handicap debut and after being ridden positively from the off, he took over the lead from his stablemate Sneaky Getaway early in the home straight.
The result was never really in doubt thereafter as Cape Gentleman readily extended clear, passing the post two lengths ahead of 100-1 shot Aircraft Carrier, with De Name Escapes Me making late gains to finish third.
Hot favourite Royal Illusion passed the post in sixth, but was later disqualified after rider Joey Sheridan failed to weigh in.
Mullins said of the winner: “We got this horse a year ago and it’s all worked out well. We had him ready to go during the summer and he just met with a little hiccup and it was great to get the run into him at Listowel before coming here.
“My only worry was that he hadn’t ran for a year and it was just 16 days back from the Listowel run. It was a quick enough turnaround considering that he hadn’t run for a year.
“This is a huge race to win. We’ll see what the handicapper will do now. He was primarily bought to jump hurdles and I’m sure he will do that at some stage.
“We have options now and we are in a good place.”
The stewards inquired into Sheridan’s failure to weigh in and suspended the rider for two days.
John McConnell’s A Case Of You impressed in the Group Three Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes.
Third on his Bellewstown debut before opening his account at Down Royal last month, the 6-1 shot successfully graduated to Pattern class with a one-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Lipizzaner under Gary Carroll.
McConnell said: “That’s my first Curragh winner as usually if I have a good horse, I stay away from the Curragh because the competition is so good, but he justified coming here and was impressive.
“It’s my first Group winner on the Flat. I doubt if he will run again this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets faster and faster and the dream could be something like a Commonwealth Cup (at Royal Ascot).”
Helvic Dream (6-1) continued Noel Meade’s excellent run of form with a comprehensive victory in the Novi IT Services International Stakes.
Third behind the reopposing Sonnyboyliston over the course and distance four weeks ago, the three-year-old comprehensively turned that form around to claim Group Three honours under Colin Keane.
“I thought he was good all year, but things just haven’t gone right for him with one thing and another,” said Meade.
“I don’t know where he will go next, and there is the possibility we could travel with him. He’ll stick to Stakes races now. We have schooled him over barrels, but that will probably go out the window.”
Keane had earlier partnered his first winner for Aidan O’Brien aboard 2-1 favourite Khartoum in the Curragh Where Champions Are Made Maiden, before Paddy Twomey and Billy Lee teamed up to land the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes with 10-1 shot Fantasy Lady.
Patrick Mullins steered 1-3 favourite Mt Leinster to victory for his father Willie in the Chapmans Kildare Amateur Riders Derby.
“This fellow has schooled over fences and he’s very good, so I’d imagine that is going to be on the cards for him,” said the rider.
“I was able to twist Willie’s arm and get him to run here rather than the Cesarewitch.”
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.