Walsh to team up with La Bague Au Roi in Irish Gold Cup

Rider steps in for injured Johnson at Leopardstown.

  • Wednesday 29 January
  • News
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Mark Walsh has been booked to partner La Bague Au Roi in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Richard Johnson has ridden Warren Greatrex’s star mare on each of her eight starts over fences to date, a run which has yielded four victories, including a Grade One triumph at last year’s Dublin Racing Festival in the Flogas Novice Chase.

The nine-year-old is all set to head to Ireland for Sunday’s 250,000 euros feature, but with the British champion jockey sidelined by injury, connections require a new pilot.

Greatrex told the PA news agency: “After speaking to the owners, we decided to go with an Irish-based jockey who knows the track at Leopardstown really well – and we’ve decided Mark Walsh is the man for the job.

“She (La Bague Au Roi) is in great form at home and I couldn’t be any happier with her. The plan is to leave on Friday morning, to then give her the chance to get settled in.

“Hopefully we’ll see a big run from her.”

La Bague Au Roi is a best-priced 33-1 for the Irish Gold Cup, with Kemboy and Delta Work disputing favouritism.

Next in the betting is Presenting Percy, who made a promising start to his campaign when third in the John Durkan at Punchestown, but could finish only fifth in last month’s Savills Chase – a race won by Delta Work, with Kemboy fourth.

Presenting Percy’s rider, Davy Russell, said: “He seemed to run a very good race in the John Durkan and we were hoping for a bit of improvement going to Leopardstown.

“He ran really well (in the Savills Chase), but I just felt from the back of the last to the line he might stay on a bit better.

“We’re hoping for improvement from that run, but he’ll need it because it’s a very competitive sphere.

“I’m looking forward to having another go at them. He’s a very talented horse.”

Walsh to team up with La Bague Au Roi in Irish Gold Cup

Leopardstown 15:30, 2 February 2020

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