Kempes was an impressive winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown this afternoon for Willie Mullins and JP McManus.
David Casey stepped in for the mount as Tony McCoy who had originally been due to ride last weekend was on duty at Newbury. Unfortunately for the latter, Newbury was abandoned. The Listener and Let Yourself Go swapped the lead early on but China Rock kicked for home four out and briefly looked the winner. However,Kempes moved up travelling strongly on the run to the last and Joncol and Glencove Marina were the last to throw down a challenge. It was to no avail though as the Mullins runner stayed on to win well.
The winner was given a quote of 25/1 for the Gold Cup by William Hill. Owner JP McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “I was surprised with how well he handled the ground. Davy gave him a lovely ride but I was surprised with how easily he picked them up. AP (McCoy) said he would have been involved in the Lexus when he fell two out, but he’s gone on the ground today all right”.
Mullins said: ‘The surprises are always the best ones! I asked David to go out and get him to jump round and if he’d any chance to take it. I said to him if he got round he’d have more speed than the others and he probably even arrived too soon. I’m delighted for the horse, his owner and especially his jockey as he gave him a terrific ride. I’d imagine he’ll go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup next and better ground should suit too – the ground might not be as bad as we thought today”.