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Total Irish victory; MULLINS STRIKES GOLD TO END 37-YEAR DROUGHT FOR HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN.

Byline: DAVID YATES

TOTAL RECALL fought tooth and nail to a lastgasp Ladbrokes Trophy triumph at Newbury.

This stunning victory brought to an end a 37-year Irish drought in the race known as the Hennessy Gold Cup.

The 9-2 favourite looked held in second as Nicky Henderson's Whisper and Davy Russell jumped the final fence with a onelength lead.

But the Willie Mullinstrained eight-year-old mined reserves when switched to the far side by jockey Paul Townend, overhauling his rival in the final strides of the threeand-a-quarter-mile test to win by a neck.

"I thought his chance had gone," admitted Mullins (above). "I thought we were beaten. You could see Paul thinking, 'I'd better go round the other side and see what happens.' "And it worked, just changing angles."

Total Recall had been originally bought and trained by the late Dessie Hughes, moving to Mullins after Hughes' daughter Sandra retired in May.

"A lot of the credit must go to Sandra Hughes, who used her father's methods and progressed very slowly with him," acknowledged Ireland's champion trainer.

"Sandra retired and we've just got the benefit of it."

Mullins' Be My Royal had won the race - run yesterday under its new banner for the first time - 15 years ago, but was disqualified after a contaminated food supply led to traces of morphine showing up in his postrace sample.

I thought chance had thought beaten "Hopefully we won't have any problems this time!" smiled the County Carlow handler, responsible for the first Irish success since Bright Highway in 1980.

Total Recall is now 20-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March, and Mullins confirmed: "He'll definitely get an entry after that run."

his gone, I we were Hender-son's Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air duly outclassed his opposition on his return to action at Newcastle - and will now head to the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

The six-year-old was sent off the 1-6 favourite to account for four rivals in the Unibet Fighting Fifth Hurdle - and jockey Barry Geraghty sat motionless as the JP McManus-owned winner sauntered to a three-and-a-half-length margin over Irving.

Buveur D'Air was cut to 3-1 second favourite to retain his crown at Cheltenham in the spring - 2015 winner Faugheen heads the market at 6-4 - and Henderson said: "Today was perfect.

"It seemed a fairly simple task for him on paper but it's always nice when they go and do exactly what they're expected to do.

"You're always very relieved when it's over."

RECALL'S ROCKING Paul Townend and Total Recall (right) saw off Davy Russell and Whisper to win the Ladbrokes Trophy I thought his chance had gone, I thought we were beaten

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2017
Words:444
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