Total Recall takes Mullins back to future
Total Recall ended an Irish drought dating back to 1980 with a thrilling victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury yesterday.
The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old got up close home to collar Whisper and become the first Irish winner in the prestigious staying handicap, formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, since Bright Highway.
It was sweeter for Mullins as his Be My Royal passed the first post in 2002, only to be subsequently disqualified after testing positive to a banned substance caused by contaminated feed.
Singlefarmpayment was just getting into contention when he fell three out and Whisper hit the front with Total Recall hot on his heels.
Nicky Henderson's runner looked like landing the big prize, but Paul Townend got a great run out of the 9-2 favourite to get up and win by a neck. Regal Encore was nine lengths away in third, with Braqueur D'Or fourth.
Mullins, who will give the winner a Cheltenham Gold Cup entry, paid tribute to Total Recall's former trainer Sandra Hughes.
"I think 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," he said. "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."