Bellshill proves Gold-en for Willie Mullins at Punchestown

Irish National fifth bounces back in day two feature

  • Wednesday 25 April
  • News
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Bellshill saw off stable companion Djakadam to claim top honours in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup.

Willie Mullins saddled four of the 12 runners in a bid to win the race for a fourth time and it was Djakadam, ridden by the champion trainer’s son, Patrick, who led his rivals a merry dance for much of the extended three-mile journey.

Bellshill, who finished a weary fifth in the Irish Grand National just over three weeks ago, tracked him into the straight and got the better of a thrilling duel after the final fence to win the day.

Road To Respect, the 7-2 favourite, passed the post in third.

Winning rider David Mullins said: “This is brilliant. To get one for Willie this week means a lot.

“The old horse does everything so perfect, it’s just a shame that when he comes down to the last he gets a bit idle. I thought I’d have won the Irish Grand National on him, but that’s racing and finally I got a big one on him.

“I thought I had Patrick well beaten going down to the last – he pricked his ears and got idle, but we got him over the line today.”

A delighted Mullins was clawing back well over 200,000 euro in his title battle with Gordon Elliott, and said: “I think Bellshill deserved that.

“I thought the stewards were very hard on him at Fairyhouse after what he did (passed the post in fourth but placed fifth after casing interference at the last fence) and he’s run some fantastic races all year, so that has put the icing on the cake.

“It hasn’t been a great year for Graham Wylie with his horses this year so it’s very well deserved from him point of view as well.”

He added: “Djakadam ran a cracker. Patrick got a great tune out of him.

“He likes this place, I know he hasn’t won for a while and I thought for a minute there today he might do it, but he ran a real cracker.”

Delighted owner Wylie said: “He deserved that, because he ran so well in the Irish Grand National and he just made one mistake coming to the last.

“David gave him a great ride and I’m very pleased for David as he gets on really well with the horse, that’s why we kept him on board.”

Patrick Mullins added: “He ran his heart out again, he was just leaning and jumping slightly left all the way, but I think Bellshill had us well cooked at the second-last.

“He’s a superhero of a horse, he’s been second in the race four times and we’re very lucky to have him.

“He loved it and I enjoyed myself, too.”

Looking to the future for Bellshill, Mullins said: “To come back from Fairyhouse, where he was very unlucky, and win here like that, it just shows what he had left in the tank when he made the mistake at the last in Fairyhouse.

“He lost concentration just like he did today when he was in front. He has a huge engine.

“I was amazed he was disqualified (at Fairyhouse), and couldn’t get over that it wasn’t overturned (on appeal) yesterday.

“I’ve never seen a horse make a mistake at a fence and be disqualified when it was no fault of the rider. There are countless examples of it in Irish racing, and I think the decision opens a huge can of worms.

“He could be a Gold Cup horse and the performance he put up in Fairyhouse was a Gold Cup performance in my book, and today has just confirmed that.”

Bellshill proves Gold-en for Willie Mullins at Punchestown
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