Ladbrokes Trophy: Total Recall becomes first Irish-trained winner since 1980

Total Recall edges up to Whisper before winning the Ladbrokes Trophy
Total Recall (r) edged out Whisper on the line to win the Ladbrokes Trophy

Total Recall thrillingly reeled in and passed Whisper in the closing stages to win the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.

The 9-2 favourite, ridden by Paul Townend and trained by Willie Mullins, is the first Irish-trained horse to win the event, previously called the Hennessey Gold Cup, since 1980.

Whisper, under Davy Russell, led over the last fence but lost out by a neck on the line.

Regal Encore trailed in third, with Braqueur D'Or fourth.

Townend was riding after compatriot Ruby Walsh broke his leg in a fall at Punchestown last month, while Total Recall only joined Mullins' stable earlier this season after former trainer Sandra Hughes' retirement.

"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," said Mullins.

"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."

This victory sees Mullins become the first Irish trainer to claim the title since Bright Highway won for Michael O'Brien 27 years ago.

"It's a tough race for the Irish to win, why I don't know," added Mullins.

The Mullins-trained Be My Royal finished first in the 2002 race, only to be stripped of the title after failing a dope test for morphine, one of a number of positives at the time blamed on a contaminated batch of horse-feed.


Cornelius Lysaght, BBC 5 live racing correspondent

A pulsating finish to this historic jump racing feature with Total Recall narrowly wearing down Whisper with only yards of the race to go, having looked beaten at the last.

Time will tell whether either of the horses - who were a gaping nine-lengths ahead of the third-place finisher - turn out to be near to some of the greats who've won this, but the spectacle they provided was right up to the mark.

You get the impression that Mullins believes there is more still to come from Total Recall.