Total Recall bounced back to form with a vengeance to run out a ready winner of the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran.
The race was run in thick fog, making it difficult to see the runners in certain parts of the track – but what was not in doubt was that when they emerged from the gloom at the second-last Total Recall was in the clear.
Now an 11-year-old, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding has plenty of high-class form in the book and won the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in 2017.
On the back of that, having landed a handicap hurdle in between, he went to Cheltenham for the 2018 Gold Cup and was in the process of running a big race until falling three out and his career had rather gone the wrong way since.
With Paul Townend choosing stablemate Acapella Bourgeois, Danny Mullins came in for the ride and despite a blunder at the last, the race was already in safe-keeping.
The 16-1 winner was introduced into the Grand National betting by Betfair at 25-1 and RaceBets at 28-1.
On a day when Willie Mullins sent out the first three in the Galmoy Hurdle, he was winning the Thyestes for the eighth time and also sent out the second, Class Conti. Minella Fair was third, with Ex Patriot fourth.
Mullins – already on the mark in the Galmoy Hurdle with Benie Des Dieux – said: “It’s a huge day here and it’s like what the Kerry National is to Kerry – this is our National up here!
“I didn’t think he could win another big handicap after winning the Munster National and the Ladbrokes at Newbury.
“He’ll stay and stay all day, but when you miss the break on him I didn’t think he’d have the gears to get back into the race.”
Looking to future plans, he added: “I imagine he’ll get an entry at Aintree and at Fairyhouse. Long-distance chases in testing ground suit him.”
Danny Mullins said: “To win any big race is special, but to win one at your local track is extra special. I was brought up just across the road from here.
“I was a little bit slow away, but his jumping was fantastic through the race, which got him where I wanted to be.
“We took the outside line as we thought the ground would be a bit better out there. He made a slight mistake at the second-last, but got away from it very fast which is what you need.”
Mullins was also on the mark with Aione (2-5 favourite) in the Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Ladies Auction Maiden Hurdle under Rachael Blackmore.
“He did that nicely and jumped well. He’s more a chaser in the making than a hurdler,” said Mullins.
“I think he was idling in front and you could see him looking at the mobile camera the whole way up the straight rather than going about his business. I think there is plenty more in the tank. The conditions of this race really suited him.
“He won’t go to the Dublin Racing Festival, but will have an entry at Cheltenham and we’ll see if he can have another run between now and then.
“He could go for the Albert Bartlett or the Ballymore, but we’ll have to see how much he improves in the meantime.”