To build the hype for Saturday’s Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, the boss got legendary jockeys Ruby Walsh and Paul Carberry together to discuss a couple of classic renewals.
The trio settled down in front of the big screen, with popcorn on hand, to watch back Paul’s triumphs on Florida Pearl in 2000 and Beef or Salmon six years later. You can watch their cracking chat on our Dublin Racing Festival Rewind Show in full below from Wednesday.
🏇 DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL REWIND: Ahead of the big weekend at @LeopardstownRC, Paul Carberry sat down with Ruby Walsh and Paddy to chat through his victories in what is now the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup.
📺 Full version here: https://t.co/kHzllONoGq
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Florida Pearl, trained by Willie Mullins, is the greatest horse in the history of the Irish Gold Cup, having claimed the top race on four occasions between 1999 and 2004. The door opened for Paul to take the ride after the great Richard Dunwoody retired from racing and our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby was ruled out of the Dublin Racing Festival through injury.
The odds-on favourite breezed to a 5½l victory to give Paul his maiden success in the race. “Willie always liked to have him handy, I’d rather drop in a bit more. He had plenty of speed, he didn’t need to quicken a lot, it was just his natural cruising speed,” he tells Paddy and Ruby. “Even though I was up handy, he was going easy enough. I rode him in his own comfort zone and let him do his thing.”
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Despite recording 16 wins from 33 starts including eight Grade 1s, Florida Peal never managed to score in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with his best effort coming in 2000 when placing second behind Looks Like Trouble.
Paul reckons the extended trip was the problem, saying: “He had so much class, it was just hard for him to get the 3m 2f. There was too much speed in him, it kind of burns out the further you go.”
Ruby had four rides on Florida Pearl in his career but incredibly never managed to steer him into the winner’s enclosure.
“I think I’m probably the only one that never won on him. He was definitely my nemesis!” Ruby jokes. “I was second on him in the King George, second in the John Durkan. I just never clicked with Florida Pearl!”
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Paul claimed the second of his Irish Gold Cup wins onboard Beef or Salmon, who got the better of Grand National hero Hedgehunter in 2006, despite a jumping error six from home. Like Florida Pearl, Beef or Salmon also failed to follow up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“He was electric around Leopardstown, he used to love it round there,” the former top jock recalls. “He was a good jumper but he could be a bit careful. On a good day he was really good but he could let you down so you had to be ready for it.
“The flat track around Leopardstown was a big help but the day he fell at Cheltenham frightened him and anytime I rode him there afterwards he downed tools.”
WATCH THE FULL SHOW ON YOUTUBE: Ruby and Paul sit down with Paddy Power to discuss the 2000 and 2006 Irish Gold Cups
READ MORE ON THE DUBLIN RACING FESTIVAL
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest racing tips
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- Dubin Racing Festival antepost betting and guide to the 8 Grade 1 races
- Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup antepost prices for Saturday’s big race at Leopardstown
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