Paddy Power has added to its extensive sponsorship portfolio at Leopardstown with their backing of the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup in a new deal.
The €250,000 Grade 1 chase is one of the highlights of the Dublin Racing Festival and will be run on the second day of the fiesta at Leopardstown on Sunday, February 2.
The movement cements Paddy Power’s position as the leading racing sponsor at the South Co. Dublin track, with the Paddy Power Chase on December 27th and the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend in September also part of their sponsorship stable.
The Irish Gold Cup has been a permanent fixture in the Irish racing calendar for 33 years now and no trainer has a better record than Willie Mullins.
The Irish champion trainer won the contest 10, including four-time winner Florida Pearl, Alexander Banquet, Rule Supreme, Kempes, Quel Esprit, Sir Des Champs and last year’s winner Bellshill, who gave jockey Ruby Walsh his third and final win in the race a year ago.
Walsh originally made made his breakthrough on the Paul Nicholls-trained Neptune Collonges, the most recent British-trained winner, in 2009.
The roll of honour also includes three-time winners Beef Or Salmon (2003, 06 & 07), trained by Michael Hourigan and Peter Beaumont’s Jodami (1993-95).
Jodami and Imperial Call, in 1993 and 1996 respectively, won the Irish Gold Cup and then went onto win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season while the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John went one better when becoming the first horse to win the Irish Gold Cup, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup in the same season in 2017.
The John Kiely-trained Carlingford Lough, owned by JP McManus, was the winner in 2015 and 2016, joining a roll of honour that includes Carvill’s Hill, Danoli, Dorans Pride and Forgive ‘N’ Forget, the winner of the inaugural race 33 years ago.
Patrick Desmond, Racing Director for Paddy Power Betfair, added: “This is the third year of the Dublin Racing Festival and it has now established itself as the definitive pre-Cheltenham race meeting. It’s quality over quantity and with the Irish being so dominant at Cheltenham (and Aintree) the past few years this year’s renewal is a massive draw. We’re likely to have the favourite of 10 of the Cheltenham Grade 1s running as well as many who will have big chances at the Cheltenham handicaps.”
Paul Mallon, Head of Brand Marketing (Ireland) for Paddy Power, said: “Sports fans bang on about the exploits of Katie Taylor, Shane Lowry, Rachael Blackmore and the emerging crop of young football talent – but let’s not forget that some of the most consistent Irish winners have four legs, not two. The Dublin Racing Festival presents some of the highest-calibre horses to a country that loves its racing, and we’re delighted to be on board.”
Tim Husbands, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, said, “I’m really excited to extend our partnership with top-class brand Paddy Power, the new sponsor of the Irish Gold Cup. Over the past three decades the race has provided some fantastic racing memories for racegoers. Our combined aim is to ensure the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup continues to showcase the competitiveness and the quality of racing in Ireland. Dublin Racing Festival is entering its third year and this partnership will further strengthen it as one of the best weekends of racing in Europe.”