Cheltenham Festival: Ruby Walsh tips dour stayer Kemboy for Gold Cup run

A change of tactics worked at Leopardstown - can it work in the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

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Willie Mullins has something of a puzzle on his hands as he weighs up what to do with Kemboy at the Cheltenham Festival 2021 following his front-running Irish Gold Cup win at the weekend.

The nine-year-old made all the running and has benefitted from a change of tactics recently with Ruby Walsh revealing on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast that attempts to hold-up the horse were scrapped in favour of letting him lead from the front.

Kemboy currently holds three entries at Cheltenham in the Ryanair Chase, the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and the Gold Cup. Mullins has admitted he’s worried about Kemboy’s jumping around Prestbury Park and that’s putting him off going for the Gold Cup, but Ruby thinks that’s the perfect race for Kemboy to do his thing.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast, Ruby explained what they’ve learned about Kemboy and that he thinks Mullins’ horse should be going for the biggest prize of the Festival.

Kemboy’s been given the entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle for fear his jumping didn’t hold up in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup last Sunday. After winning that, can I really see Willie Mullins going back to the Stayers’ Hurdle with him? It’s unlikely. He’d be a great back up to Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup, wouldn’t he?

He hasn’t jumped that well at Cheltenham before and it’ll be an interesting conversation but he has an entry, he’s in the race, so he has the option. I haven’t discussed it with Willie so I don’t know what he’s thinking but, he did say in an interview after race that he’s been worried about his jumping at Cheltenham in the past.

His last two runs at Leopardstown were the best he’s jumped in quite a while. Kemboy is a dour stayer and is a horse that we got wrong for a long while.

We were always trying to settle him and switch him off in his races, but if you look at his form, arguably his best run was beating Al Boum Photo at Punchestown where he was taken on all the way by Definitely Red. In the end, he had enough left to go, quicken and outstay Al Boum Photo from the second last.

We thought about it in depth and we realised we weren’t making enough use of him. We were trying to settle him, to see if we could harness some energy and use it at the end of the race – when actually he was just best let go and stride on.

6/1
Kemboy Ryanair Chase - Non Runner Money Back

12/1
Kemboy Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle - Non Runner Money Back

10/1
Kemboy Gold Cup - Non Runner Money Back

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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