Allaho put on a commanding performance as he unmistakably demonstrated his stamina at the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup.
The two-time Ryanair Chase winner hadn’t run more than three miles since losing at the 2020 Savills Chase – and meanwhile he’s really proven to be the closest chaser in practice over two and a half miles.
Willie Mullins even dropped him by two miles at that meeting last year, but after another dominant performance at Cheltenham the champion trainer was confident enough to get going.
Paul Townend rode him like there was absolutely no doubt about his stamina and it proved it.
Last year’s winners Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden, determined not to give Allaho an easy lead, rode with him for the first two miles, but from afar Townend began to pick up the pace.
It proved too much for Minella Indo, who was dragged far from home, while Galvin was another popular runner who never communicated.
Al Boum Photo and Kemboy, stablemates of the winner, are both well traveled, but from three they hunted in vain.
Townend was still on the mend coming over the penultimate as Clan Des Obeaux looked tired and a mistake from Kemboy cost him every chance.
Allaho came close to the end – his only minor error – but the 6-5 favorite held 14 lengths against Clan Des Obeaux, who deserved plenty of credit for trying to make a race out of it. Al Boum Photo was third, with Kemboy fourth.
Allaho is 8-1 from 20s for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Betfair – a race won this year by A Plus Tard, also owned by Cheveley Park Stud.
Mullins said, “Paul didn’t take any prisoners there, he told me he was going to jump out, and he said to me, ‘He’s going to stay, isn’t he?’ to which I replied, ‘Of course he will!’ .
“So that was his plan, Al Boum wanted to jump out too and Kemboy too but Paul said he wanted to jump over the first two and see who would be with him and race from there. As it turned out, only Clan Des Obeaux could stay with him.
“Bryan Cooper rode Al Boum Photo and said he had never ridden a faster Gold Cup in his life, it was consistent and easy to see.
“He was just beaten over three miles as a novice at Cheltenham when he was ahead and taking over but he’s much more mature now.
“I don’t know about the King George, I’ll be speaking to Richard Thompson (of Cheveley Park) but that opens up a lot more possibilities for him now. You could probably say King George jumping.
“He’s an engine and I was just hoping he could do what he did there today. I was a bit concerned that he could only do it over two and a half but now he can do it over three and next year he will be more mature. He’s only eight.
“We also have Galopin Des Champs (for the Gold Cup) but we know from experience that hopefully they will be there next spring. In the show jumping wild horses don’t always come by the following season, hopefully these two will. We have capodanno after yesterday too.
“I don’t know, about three-quarters (miles) for Allaho, but I think he’d better drive left-handed. That extra quarter mile is tough when you know what he can do over two and a half.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/more-success-for-willie-mullins-as-allaho-claims-punchestown-gold-cup-in-style-41594365.html More success for Willie Mullins as Allaho claims the Punchestown Gold Cup in style