Bellshill and Ruby Walsh battles Road To Respect to win the Unibet Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) Leopardstown 03.02.2019. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post
The Unibet Irish Gold Cup
was a select but stunning spectacle as Bellshill battled back bravely to
deny Road To Respect in what was one of the most thrilling finishes ever
witnessed at Leopardstown. Road To Respect, so unlucky in the Savills
Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas festival, was sent off the 5-6 favourite to
make up for that misfortune and he jumped the last a length in front under Sean
Flanagan. Ruby Walsh, who struck earlier on in the day with Klassical
Dream in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle, was once again on the right side of
a photo-finish as Bellshill stuck his neck out and was not to be denied. A
short-head was the official winning margin.
Le Bague Au Roi did the business for the visiting English connections in the
Flogas Novice Chase as she made every yard of the running under Richard Johnson
to justify Warren Greatrex's shrewd shout to pay a visit to Leopardstown with
his stable star who has now won 14 of her 19 starts.
Klassical Dream won the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle under a
hard-working ride from Ruby Walsh to deny stable-companion Aramon in a
The first Grade 1 of the day, the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle,
was won in emphatic fashion by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Sir Erec who won at
Leopardstown over Christmas.
Ed Nicholson of Irish Gold Cup sponsors Unibet, said: “Unibet are delighted to celebrate our
third year of sponsorship at Leopardstown and to be involved in Dublin Racing
Festival - this year has been the best we’ve seen so far. The festival is
attracting the very best of runners across the two days and it is gaining
prominence on both sides of the Irish Sea, which is important to us.
Congratulations to Willie, Ruby & The Wylie’s on today’s victory in the
Unibet Irish Gold Cup and we look forward to our continued association with
Dublin Racing Festival.”
Speaking after the final race of the weekend, Leopardstown CEO Pat Keogh, said:
"For an event only in
it's second year we are absolutely delighted with how Dublin Racing Festival
has established itself. A big thank you must go to all the owners and trainers
for providing blockbuster entertainment on track and to our wonderful sponsors
from both days without whom, a day like this wouldn't be possible. Finally a
big thanks to all our supporters and those who attended, we're delighted to see
it has made it's mark with racing fans across the pond."
For an event only in it's
second year we are absolutely delighted with how Dublin Racing Festival has
established itself. A big thank you must go to all the owners and trainers for
providing blockbuster entertainment on track and to our wonderful sponsors from
both days without whom, a day like this wouldn't be possible.
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