Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch: Family affair as Mullins’ go head-to-head

The Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch takes place at The Curragh on Sunday (3.40pm)

Willie Mullins 2020


*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing  / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

Emmet Mullins is looking to claim family bragging rights when the Carlow conjuror goes up against his uncle and champion jumps trainer Willie in the Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch this weekend.

Sunday’s big race at The Curragh is a real test of staying power over two miles and the up-and-coming Irishman is hoping Cape Gentleman has what it takes to scoop Paddy’s prize pot.

The four-year-old finished second to Mt Leinster, trained by Willie and ridden by his son Patrick, in a 1m 6f event at Listowel last month and the rivals are due to go head-to-head once again.

It was Cape Gentleman’s first run in 406 days and Emmet is quietly confident ahead of Sunday’s outing, saying: “I was delighted with the race at Listowel.


“Obviously we bumped into a high-class horse of Willie’s in Mt Leinster who has graded form over hurdles, but it was a great starting point and hopefully this race is not too soon off the back of it.”

This will be just the second race Cape Gentleman has run for Emmet, having previously been trained by Nicolas Clement before a switch in August.

And victory will be a tall order considering Willie has won the race three times in the past five years courtesy of Digeanta, Laws Of Spin and Royal Illusion.

Cape Gentleman is only 1lb better off than Mt Leinster for the five-length defeat at Listowel, but Emmet believes there are grounds for optimism.

“This is a competitive handicap and Patrick got the run of the race in Listowel as he was able to dictate in front,” he said.

“I don’t think Mt Leinster will get things all his own way and hopefully Cape Gentleman will improve after his first run of the season.”

The ground at The Curragh is currently soft on the round course and soft/soft-to-heavy in places on the straight course after 13mm of rain on Wednesday night with an unsettled forecast, but Emmet – who won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham among other races during his riding days – is unconcerned about the terrain or increased distance.

Emmet Mullins Cheltenham Festival 2011 Conditions Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle

The 30-year-old said: “He handled the ground well at Listowel where it was soft, gluey and no, I’d say The Curragh ground should be perfect and I don’t see any issues at the moment anyway.

“I don’t see the step up in trip as a problem – hopefully he’ll have a nice hurdling campaign after this, novice hurdling all being well. Fingers crossed Ronan Whelan will be able to take the ride.

“We’re hopeful – it’s a great race with a big pot, but the horse deserves to take his chance and we’re hopeful of a nice run.”

Emmet also has Sneaky Getaway in the race and believes the seven-year-old has a chance of placing.

“He’s at the top of the weights and has been very consistent for us,” he said.

“I tried him in big company last year in the Doncaster Cup behind Stradivarius. Then he was behind Stratum in the English Cesarewitch off a mark of 101 last year and I wasn’t disappointed.

“He’s probably still got plenty of weight and we might claim off him, but he could be a nice each-way chance to back in the race.”

Down Royal 

The youngster of the Mullins trainers tutors around 20 horses at his Bagenalstown nerve centre, including Zero Ten who scooped the Grade 3 Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase at Thurles in March on his last start and he could be in line for a mouth-watering match-up against Samcro soon.

He said: “He’s back okay, he’s working and might possibly go to Down Royal for their big meeting in three weeks’ time. It’s a second season chase and I think Samcro might be going for it.

“We’ll find out where we lie over fences and he’s an exciting horse with plenty of big days in him yet.”

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future / Racing Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the Paddy Power Irish Cesarewitch for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

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