Kempes Strikes Hennessy Gold
1 Kempes 5/1
Kempes ran out a clear-cut winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown for Willie Mullins and David Casey.
Mullins has a fantastic record in Ireland's premier race but Kempes was only the stable second-string until Cooldine was ruled out at the 11th hour.
The Listener was left in front with a mile to run but Paul Carberry took the bold decision to kick on with China Rock four out. On the approach to the last he was a spent force but Kempes was still going great guns. Last year's winner Joncol and Glencove Marina emerged as threats, but Casey kept the 5-1 shot up to his work to beat the latter by four lengths.
Winning owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said: "I was surprised with how well he handled the ground. Davy gave him a lovely ride but I was surprised with how easily he picked them up. AP (McCoy) said he would have been involved in the Lexus when he fell two out, but he's gone on the ground today all right."
Mullins said: "The surprises are always the best ones! I asked David to go out and get him to jump round and if he'd any chance to take it. I said to him if he got round he'd have more speed than the others and he probably even arrived too soon. I'm delighted for the horse, his owner and especially his jockey as he gave him a terrific ride.
Victor Chandler went 40-1 for the Gold Cup but were immediately forced to trim that to 25s after sustained support.
Unfortunately, on a day of equine tragedy in Britain and Ireland, the runner-up Glencove Marina collapsed and died shortly after crossing the line, while Nicky Richards' Money Trix suffered a serious injury on the first circuit and had to be put down.
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