Kemboy and Monkfish the stars of the show at Leopardstown as champion trainer Willie Mullins dominates
KEMBOY capped a memorable weekend for Willie Mullins as he bagged the Irish Gold Cup.
Record-breaking trainer Mullins saddled SIX of the eight Grade 1 winners at Leopardstown's Dublin Racing Festival.
Given the yard's red-hot form, it raised a few eyebrows when Kemboy was gifted a soft lead under Danny Mullins.
He had his rivals on the stretch on the run to two out and measured the final two fences well on his way to a comfortable win.
Minella Indo saw his Cheltenham Gold Cup aspirations go up in smoke as he finished a tame fourth having failed to convince in the jumping department.
The winner, meanwhile, was cut into 10-1 from 14s for the Festival showpiece with Betfair.
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Mullins said: "He's really surprised me on that ground. The chase track is a lot better than the hurdle track and they went up the middle, which is better again.
"I thought all the rain we had might have affected that fella, but he seems to be getting stronger with age.
"I had Paul (Townend) down on this guy and Patrick (Mullins) down to ride the other guy (Melon), but Paul said he'd like to ride Melon.
"Different tactics didn't work on Melon, I'd say he just likes to enjoy himself and get on with it. Melon keeps his best for Cheltenham, but hasn't managed to get to the lollipop in front yet (four times second at the Festival).
Earlier on the card, Monkfish left a high-class field trailing in his wake with a stunning performance in the Flogas Novices' Chase.
The unbeaten seven-year-old jumped like a stag and cruised clear on the run-in to smash old rival Latest Exhibition by 11 lengths.
He is now 4-5 from 7-4 for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham with Coral.
Winning jock Paul Townend said: "All I had to do was sit there and steer him to be honest.
"He locked eyes on every fence and took them on, the loose horse took me on and set him alight a little bit, but I wasn't worried because he is just a very good horse.
"The feel he gives me, he isn't a plodder and has a little bit of class."
Appreciate It solidified his position at the head of the betting for the Supreme with an all-the-way win in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.
The giant seven-year-old, who will surely make a terrific chaser next year, made every yard of the running and stretched clear from the back of the last to beat Ballyadam by three and a quarter lengths.
And the unbeaten Quixilios was similarly authoritative in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle.
He is also a rock-solid favourite for the Triumph at the Festival and saved an otherwise disappointing weekend for Gordon Elliott.
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