Total Recall takes Trophy Chase to end Irish drought

Paul Townend riding Total Recall (nearest) got up in a thrilling finish

Total Recall ended the Irish drought with a thrilling victory in the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury.

The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old got up close home to collar Whisper and become the first Irish winner in the prestigious staying handicap, formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, since Bright Highway in 1980.

It was also sweeter for Mullins as his Be My Royal passed the first post in 2002, only to be subsequently disqualified after testing positive to a banned substance caused by contaminated feed.

Singlefarmpayment was just getting into contention when he fell three out and Whisper hit the front with Total Recall hot on his heels.

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Nicky Henderson's runner looked like landing the big prize, but Paul Townend got a great run out of the 9-2 favourite to get up and win by a neck. Regal Encore was nine lengths away in third, with Braqueur D'Or fourth.

What a ride from @Sean_Bowen_ who overcomes a slipping saddle and galvanises Beware The Bear to land the At The Races Rehearsal Chase at @NewcastleRaces: pic.twitter.com/xKimgVfXtM

At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 2, 2017

Mullins paid tribute to Total Recall's former trainer Sandra Hughes.

"I think a lot of the credit must go to Sandra Hughes, who used her father's (Dessie Hughes) training methods and let this horse progress very slowly," he said. "Sandra retired, we just got the benefit of it.

"Paul was fantastic. He was very cool. I thought he was beaten going to the last, but he switched sides and got a different run on the other side, it worked a treat. It's a tough race for the Irish to win, why I don't know."

Mullins revealed he will put Total Recall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He said: "He will definitely get an entry in the Gold Cup after that run. By the time he runs again I imagine the entries will have closed."

Townend said: "I was confident enough I'd got there without wanting to be too confident. I thought I'd thrown it away when I let him pop the second-last and let the other horse go across him, but he's as tough as old boots.

"He had a lovely racing weight today. He'd had to improve a lot again I'd imagine to be a Gold Cup horse, but he's doing nothing wrong."

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