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Cuthbert
18 Mar 16 18:56
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Date Joined: 05 Jan 03
| Topic/replies: 293 | Blogger: Cuthbert's blog
there is only one gold cup after all.
Pause Switch to Standard View Do you think Mullins has any regrets...
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Report wellchief March 18, 2016 6:55 PM GMT
I don't think he'll have too many regrets.  He did win a good renewal of the Ryanair, and what happened to Cue Card shows anything can happen in a Gold Cup, so to get a winner, I don't think he'll be too downhearted.

If Djakadam had won, I think Giggi would have had big regrets over running Road to Riches and Valseur Lido in the Ryanair.  Worked out well for them in the end.

The only thing with Vautour is that if he was ever going to get 3m2f, he wouldn't have had better ground than what he had today.
Report impossible123 March 18, 2016 7:18 PM GMT
I'd have thought so, even the sponsor, a Mr O'Leary, said the Ryanair is not the Gold Cup - maybe as a dig to WPM/RR; the conditions were ideal for Vautour, and given the proximity of Djakadam to DC there must be more than a tinge of regret especially RR. Next year perhaps.

I wonder if there was any more to it other than RW thinking Footpad represented a better chance of winning the Triumph than Let's Dance - he rode Munir's Footpad instead of Ricci's Let's Dance.
Report trigger3 March 18, 2016 7:29 PM GMT
Mullins would have won the Ryanair anyway if Vautour had stuck to the plan and gone for gold (Valseur Lido was second). If Cue Card had stood up and if Vautour had lined up, the big three would have fought out the finish. Instead Don Cossacks success comes with an asterix (that's not the horses fault).
Report Shrews March 18, 2016 7:52 PM GMT
He said live on air "We probably need to look for something else now" after Djakadam finished 2nd again. I think he knows now that Vautour was probably his best chance and he hasn't got anything else in the yard at present. Thistlecrack is probably set to dominate and Vautour won't beat him, but he would have had a good chance against Don Cossack.

The Ryanair win was great, but the Gold Cup is the one they want and now it looks like they'll have to wait a while.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 18, 2016 8:19 PM GMT
Only seeing Cue Card coming up that hill in front today would have given me greater pleasure than Ricci and Mullins getting it stuck on them in the Gold Cup. I hope neither of them ever win the big one and I don't care how churlish that makes me seem. They were instrumental in leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many punters who lost money on both races and even punters like myself who didn't have a bet in either race.
Report tim6 March 18, 2016 9:03 PM GMT
in effect they
                  1. Took away from what would have been a great Gold cup.
                  2, Ran a horse whose form was on soft and did not run Vatour who would have loved the ground.
                  3. Ruined any prospect of Antepost betting in future.
                  4. Treated Paul Townend disgracefully who should have rode Vatour in Gold cup.
                  5. The rubbish excuse they came up with 90% fit should leave him at home, taking the punters as pure idiots.
                  6. Treated punters overall disgracefully, should hang their heads in shame.
Report GT March 18, 2016 9:08 PM GMT
I agree with what you say Tim, but I think Don Cossack would've beat Vautour over the 3 miles and 2 1/2 furlongs anyway
Report tim6 March 18, 2016 9:11 PM GMT
Would agree GT but today with the good ground it rode more like 3mile than 3m2 1/2F think it would have been a cracker given the conditions I would take Vatour. Having said that I backed cue card today so heyho
Report GT March 18, 2016 9:14 PM GMT
Would certainly have added to the race Tim.. but Don Cossack has for 11 months now been the best chaser in Ireland & the UK.
Report wellchief March 18, 2016 9:17 PM GMT
Trigger,  even though Valseur Lido finished in front of RTR, I'm pretty confident RTR would have comfortably won the Ryanair had Vautour not been in the field.

RTR tried to go with Vautour and beat him, so in effect cut his own throat.  Valseur Lido was out the back the whole race and stayed on strongly at the end.  Gold Cup was definitely his race, but outside of Vautour, RTR was a good bit better than the others imo.

I'd try him in the Ryanair again next year too.
Report trigger3 March 18, 2016 9:18 PM GMT
Vautour had everything in his favour today and only would have had to have beaten Don Cossack as I think he had the measure of all the rest. We will never know for sure (though plenty will claim otherwise) but it definitely took away from what had promised to be a classic gold cup which turned out to be a bit of a let down. If there is one valuable lesson to be learned it is never to believe some of the balderdash coming out of Mullins mouth and his explanation after Vautours facile Ryanair win only made it more embarrassing.
Report wellchief March 18, 2016 9:21 PM GMT
Yeah, absolutely everything would have been in Vautour's favour today.  Hope he takes on the Don over 3m at Punchestown.

From what was looking like an amazing Gold Cup before Christmas, we lost Vautour, Coneygree, Road to Riches, Valseur Lido, Holywell and Saphir de Rheu from the original lineup.  What could have been.
Report ReaseHeath March 18, 2016 9:24 PM GMT
surely must be some degree of regret given Mullins has still not won a Gold Cup and, for all his dominance, won only one of the four championship races.

But Djakadam ran an cracking race.
Report trigger3 March 18, 2016 9:25 PM GMT
@wellchief.  Perhaps, but VL may have also been ridden differently had Vautour not lined up and he looked to comfortably have RTR measure lto at Leopardstown before falling at the last. The point is that Mullins either lost his nerve over backing himself on the Vautour staying question or he simply hoodwinked the public. He has since said that he still believes Vautour to be a gold cup horse so definitively can't say he won't stay the gold cup distance. He had all the cards fall in his favour this week yet refused to fire the dart. I'd say he will have a sleepless night tonight wondering what might have been. He definitely won't have any better chance next season.
Report rl91 March 18, 2016 9:44 PM GMT
Personally I don't think Vautour had another 7 furlongs in him at the end of the Ryanair.
I wasn't too pleased with how Davy rose Don Poli, not saying he would have won but I don't think he should have been 15-20 lengths back

I imagine next year they switch Djakadam and Vautour if they are thinking Djakadam needs something else, but then you also have Horses like Black Hercules, Killstaugh Vic, to place.

Next year will probably even more games for the Mullins team over both fences and hurdles in terms of who goes where.

Vroom Vroom over fences to Make way for Limini?
Champion hurdle conundrum
Will they run Douvan vs Un de Seaux
Or will they start saving some to be fresh for Aintree/Punchestown
Report GT March 18, 2016 9:46 PM GMT
Does anyone else think that Ruby has too much power on the Mullins/Ricci/Walsh decision making?
Report Eeternaloptimist March 18, 2016 9:58 PM GMT
I don't know if it's him with the power or that Mullins thinks he's so good that he wants him riding them all. Clearly Paul Townend is being disgracefully overlooked and would be a very good first jockey in almost any other stable.

The point has been made by others but a four day festival facilitates the arch ditherer Mullins. Nobody knows what would have happened with Vautour but given how well Cue Card was going and how well Don Cossack won you'd have had him very much in the mix there.
Report duffy March 19, 2016 12:48 AM GMT
The only regrets they can have is simply through hindsight:

If they knew beforehand that Djak wasn't good enough, they still would have doubted Vautour's staying ability but they would have been forced to run him.

Next year Vautour's chances to run in the GC would have been lessened further IMO, because he'll still tie up in the KG and on top of that will have BH and more importantly Douvan, who, as the other real stable superstar would in their minds be really hoping would stay the GC trip...both these two will be vying for Walsh's affections.

Djakadam and Shaneshill look like two ready made Ryanair horses.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 1:57 AM GMT
I said it in the build up but I'll say it again. If you have ten horses good enough to run in the biggest and most prestigious Grade 1 race in the world then you fire ten bullets at the target. Nobody can know which of the bullets will hit the target and if you start rationing them and fail you will always wonder. I hope Mullins and Ricci have nightmares about the one that got away. Neither have ever won the big one. GOOD Laugh Serves them right with a big fat cherry on top for treating the people who make racing what it is as complete mugs.

Who are the mugs now boys? never a Gold Cup. Never a World Hurdle. Never a Champion Chase.

EAT THAT.
Report duffy March 19, 2016 2:04 AM GMT
The wonderful sub plot to all of this too is how in the space of a few days wylie's positioned has strengthened, he looks to have a potential Arkle/CH horse on his hands in Yorkhill whilst BH is a viable GC contender in the making...he's made up ground on Ricci this week, it even culminated in a rekindling of the partnership with Nicholl's which won't have hurt.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 9:13 AM GMT
If a real good one does emerge for Mullins in staying chases next year (Killultagh Vic, Black Hercules, Valseur Lido etc), then Vautour could win the next 3 Ryamairs quite easily.

You never know, that could be a route they go down. Try and beat Quevegas five festival wins. It's very possible and that'll be a different route into the history books.

I know we don't like at all what went on, but it's not Vautour's fault. Last year after the JLT the superlatives flying round were huge and this year nothing, and I can understand that

However, he was masterful in the Ryanair, and demolished the best Ryanair field there has ever been and imo still the best chaser in training.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 9:14 AM GMT
* Ryanairs. Phone keyboard not playing ball this morning!
Report SoYouThink March 19, 2016 9:30 AM GMT
Is Djakadam a ready-made Ryanair horse? To me he has to be trained for the Gold Cup again regardless of what goes on with the rest of the Ricci horses. He'll still only be 8 next year. Vautour looks the ready made Ryanair horse to me.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 9:46 AM GMT
What a load of B0ll0x, not having this sh1te that Vautour doesn't stay, just look at the two main protagonists in the GC yesterday, both have ran like blatant stayers on more than one occasion in the past and anyone who says they never doubted them as stayers are liars, just because you fail to win over a distance once or twice does not mean the horse is a non stater, as horses get older and progress they will/can stay, nothing p!sses me off more than when a horse tries a longer trip for the first time, gets beat then connections completely give up on the idea of the horse even staying that distance on the back of one run!!

Vautour would have won the GC 100% convinced of that, on that ground he'd have killed them, and if Cue Card had stayed on his feet im convinced he'd have beat Don Cossack,But in the end his jumping cost him, jumped like a crab the whole way hit every fence so in the end he done well to still be going as well as he was when he ploughed 3 out.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 9:58 AM GMT
By the way when I say main protagonists I meant Don Cossack and Cue Card, obviously.
Report trigger3 March 19, 2016 11:47 AM GMT
http://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/cheltenham/james-lawton-golddon-moment-34554451.html

Hits the nail on the head for me. Mullins SHOULD be waking up this morning wondering how he got it all so wrong. But the hell with it he has his Ryanair. The more you analyse it the more disappointing it is for the race that we were denied the chance to see DC, CC & Vautour fighting it out up the home straight. Don Cossack was a very good winner but there will always be an asterix beside that win imo.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 12:43 PM GMT
What the Ryanair showed is that Vautour is very adaptable. Ruby didn't want him to get in to a slugging match with Road To Riches and so eased him in to the race. Had he run in the Gold Cup I suspect he would have been dropped in and put into the race coming around the final bend. All academic now but as I said neither Mullins or Ricci have ever won the big one and if that hurts:

GOOD.
Report DECALEC March 19, 2016 12:55 PM GMT
Why good
Report yeast March 19, 2016 1:12 PM GMT
Excellent that Mullins will be thinking "What if?" all summer after the way they're treated punters the last few weeks.

As already stated the ground may not be so suitable for Vautour in a Gold Cup again. Providing Thistlecrack jumps OK couldn't see Vautour beating it anyway and Thistlecrack won't mind good or heavy.

Add in Coneygree next season on soft going and anything beating these 2 will have to be a hell of a horse. Hopefully Vautours best chance has gone.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 1:24 PM GMT
I'd love Vautour to win the Gold Cup in the future.

He's far too good a horse not to at least run in one.  His connections didn't conduct themselves correctly at all, but when Vautour retires, I want to think back on he is one of the VERY BEST horses we have ever seen, and not what his connections were like.

The horse is a monster and deserves his place at the top table.

Annie Power has shown this year that sometimes you may take a strange route, but in the end all the cards fell into place for her.  I hope we get the same with Vautour.
Report Satrus_Froot March 19, 2016 1:34 PM GMT
Love Vautour and he is a very very special horse but it's time to take the rose tinted specs off, he's never going to win a gold cup. He just does not travel like a stayer and another three furlongs I'd have fancied Valseur Lido to have caught him, who could well be a gold cup horse.

It's all coming back to bite Mullins on the ar.se now by avoiding Faugheen with these great horses as he now has three top 2 milers in his yard. Good.
Report impossible123 March 19, 2016 3:05 PM GMT
Having "chickened" out of the Gold Cup Vautour should have gone for the Champion Chase this year instead of the Ryanair. And for next year unless he wins the King George very well unlikely he'll go for the Gold Cup again, certainly not the Champion Chase as Douvan shares the same ownership.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 4:01 PM GMT
DECALEC

If you can't see why it is good that neither Mullins or Ricci have won a Gold Cup after the way they have behaved then you need the men in white coats. It's a terrible shame that Colin Tizzard's horse didn't stand up. Decent people deserve good things to happen to them. Unfortunately life isn't often fair.
Report Ramruma March 19, 2016 4:33 PM GMT
Tbh, ducking the Champion Hurdle twice with Annie Power is worse because that was due solely to Mullins' reluctance to let his stars take each other on. With Vautour, there was a rational case based on stamina.

If Vautour wins the 2016 King George, he should run in the Gold Cup next year but if he again fails to stay, there is no point.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 4:36 PM GMT
Not forgetting he rubbed salt in that particular wound when he said before the Champion that two years ago Annie Power would have been odds on to beat the field she ran against on Tuesday. Yet instead of her running in the best race for her she not only bypassed the Champion but stepped up to a distance she'd never tried in order to also avoid a race against Quevega.
Report tim6 March 19, 2016 5:36 PM GMT
Must congradulate Micheal O'Leary by Mullins thinking he should have put Don Poli into another race thus demeaning the Gold cup but in fairness he ran him, so fair play as you need the best horses in the gold cup FFS.
Report impossible123 March 19, 2016 5:43 PM GMT
Not only DP in the Gold Cup, the O'Learys' had their own jockey on DP as well.
Report Sankara March 19, 2016 5:58 PM GMT
Hopefully lots of regrets, yes.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 6:44 PM GMT
The Ryanair has absolute zero prestige, as already mentioned Vautour should have been rerouted to the champion chase when the bottled the Gold Cup, Vautour is clearly top class, if he wins another 3 Ryanairs it will mean fcuk all, it's a nothing race who no one remembers previous winners. Not only did he mess up Vautour but it was an absolute Travesty running VL in the Ryanair as opposed to the gold cup, even a blind man could see all this horse does is stay, But the biggest joke of all was running Felix Yonger in the champion chase, I've no idea who made that decision but fcuk me that was incredible.
Report Hussard March 19, 2016 7:53 PM GMT
I was delighted for common decency that Don Cossack won the Gold Cup.. There is no asterisk beside his name he beat the horses and connections who had the balls to rock up.

I've no time for Rich Ricci. I am delighted he didn't win the Gold Cup.

Vautour is a fabulous horse and he deserved his shot at the big pot but his owner bottled it. Nobody remembers the Ryanair. Everyone remembers the Gold Cup.

Vautour goes in with Dynaste and  Uxizandre and Fondmort.

Don Cossack joins Best Mate, Denman and Kauto Star.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 7:59 PM GMT
Very well put Hussard.
Report SoYouThink March 19, 2016 9:41 PM GMT
The Ryanair Chase is only 12 years old. Nobody remembers the winner? Chances are most on this forum would be able to recall every single winner of the race. A horse like Vautour could be the making of it.

It's not so long ago I remember reading similar comments about the World Hurdle. Inglis Drever and Big Bucks were the making of that.

I think Vautour in this year's GC would really have added to the intrigue, likewise next year but at the moment his best trip seems to be 2.5 mile. In time he might prefer further. I could definitely see coming back next year to defend his title with the strength of Mullins staying chasers.

Also the problem is not so much that Vautour ran in the Ryanair Chase, it's more the Ryanair Chase exists and is an easy alternative for horses like Vautour.
Report impossible123 March 19, 2016 10:38 PM GMT
If connections of Vautour chose not to run him in the GC this year even though the ground was in his favour, and no Coneygree to contend with it is unlikely they will run him in the GC next year either against Don Cossack, Coneygree, Djakadam, Cue Card and possibly Thistlecrack in my opinion.

I'd like to think the connections of Vautour have got the "message", and it's time to move on.

Now, what's going to win the Craven, Greenham and the 2000 Guineas on 30th Apr 2016?
Report duffy March 19, 2016 10:38 PM GMT
For all of us that have long argued that the Ryanair has thrived at the expense of the other two races, this year highlights it better than ever before with Vautour.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 10:42 PM GMT
It's a cop out race pure and simple.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 10:49 PM GMT
Of course it is. He can win five Ryanair's and join Quevega in the who cares camp. One Gold Cup and you are immortalised. Mullins and Ricci know the price of everything and the value of nothing which is exactly what they got in the Gold Cup. First is first and second is nowhere.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 10:54 PM GMT
I can't believe some of the guff that I am reading here.

Of course people will remember Vautour in the future; he has the ability to be an all time great in our sport, but is being dismissed because people are blinkered in their views of what consitutes a proper trip.  He has now won at three festivals in a row by a combined 27 lengths.

Quevega will always be remembered for winning at five festivals, and there is every chance Vautour could beat that number.

Over 2.5 miles he is capable of running to 180 if fully fit; a feat very few horses can achieve  over any distance.  But because that massive rating is over an intermediate trip, it isn't worth as much as if it was over 2m?  Those saying he should run in the Champion Chase; he is not a 2 miler.  The last time he ran around a 2m trip he was beaten by Clarcam.

I wanted him in the Gold Cup too, because it would add some spice to it.  However, once I got my head around that he wasn't running, it didn't stop me enjoying seeing a true champion winning in great fashion.

You may find it hard to accept but he is a 2.5 miler.  He looks completely in his comfort zone over that trip and where he will be seen at his best; just like Don Cossack is very comfortable at 3m and Sprinter is at 2m.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 10:59 PM GMT
In 20 years people will remember Lord Windermere more than Vautour?
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 11:03 PM GMT
Few but devotees will remember Quevega in ten years time. If Vautour had stuck to the Arkle and Champion Chase route there would have been people questioning whether the horse got the two and a half mile distance in a championship race. He clearly stayed the King George trip. What beat him was jumping out to his right. Had it been run left handed he would have won by a few lengths. He's always better at Cheltenham in the spring and had Cue Card stood up it is quite possible that the likely placed horses at Kempton would have been fighting out the finish.

Mullins didn't buy a ticket and he didn't win the raffle. Good.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 11:05 PM GMT
wellchief

With respect silly question. A more apposite one would get the response that they will certainly remember One Man who never won a Gold Cup but was carried out on his shield.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 11:10 PM GMT
Well chief if you owned a horse, a grade 1 horse who was mopping up grade 1s from 2 and a half miles to 3 and a half miles, what race would you want him to win at the festival? An honest answer please. We all know what the answer would be.
Report SoYouThink March 19, 2016 11:13 PM GMT
The racing public and the racing media will decide what sort of legacy the likes of Quevaga and Vautour leave behind. I would imagine any time the Mares Hurdle is mentioned, Quevaga won't be far from the conversation.

Also people are arguing here as if Vautour would've won the Gold Cup. We don't know that. He won the Ryanair so it's a bit of paradox to use that as evidence as to why he'd have won the Gold Cup. Had the decision gone the other way we could easily be here arguing why he should have run in the Ryanair.
Report Arklearkle March 19, 2016 11:19 PM GMT
There's even a bar called after Quevega ffs!
Report Arklearkle March 19, 2016 11:20 PM GMT
They even changed the running order of the Tuesday so that her race would be on terrestial tv.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 11:25 PM GMT
CR, what I would choose doesn't make any difference though, it's what Ricci and Mullins choose that matters.  I would 100% not even consider putting him in a QMCC, he'd be run off his feet.  If he was my pride and joy, I'd want him in the race where he had the best chance of winning and best chance of coming home safely.

I'm not saying their decision was right or wrong.  SYT is right in that people are assuming he would have won the Gold Cup, when we don't know that.  I just enjoyed watching a horse ping his fences, and beat some quality horses in behind over a trip I have no problems with.

You don't have to win a Champion Chase or Gold Cup to be immortalised.

My big fear is that this horse will not be remembered for the monster that he is on track, but how his connections went about their business, which is wrong imo.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 19, 2016 11:26 PM GMT
Well if they ran her in the champion they wouldn't have had to bother changing that!!
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 11:41 PM GMT
Arklearkle

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there a statue of Dawn Run? I think I know which I'd rather have.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 19, 2016 11:45 PM GMT
And nobody is assuming anything about the Gold Cup. Only one horse can win the biggest race of all. The point which many are making is that if you have a horse good enough to challenge for it then you would be mad not to go for it. Especially seeing as neither owner or trainer has ever won the race and my personal view is long may that be the case. The sport has to fight for every inch of column space in the papers and every minute of casual observers attention in the hope that it brings in new converts. Mullins is all about the take, take, take. Time he took off his accountants head and falls in love with the sport and the romance it can bring.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 20, 2016 12:13 AM GMT
But lets not move away from the salient point. Which race a horse goes for is a judgement call. Had connections maintained that they were unsure because of what had happened at Kempton and that they were keeping their options open, sure you'd have had some people saying they should go for it but they would have been clear and straight with punters and that's what people ask. All three put the people who had put hard earned money down for Ryanair and Gold Cup well away. Ricci for his, gold cup or bust comments. Mullins for his, he's only been trained for one race comments and Ruby interviwed on the Monday afternoon apparently agonising over which of Vautour or Djakadam he would be riding in the Gold Cup when we now know the doubts had been raised.

That remains the issue.
Report Ramruma March 20, 2016 2:31 AM GMT
@Eeternaloptimist -- you may be right about the pronouncements of owner and trainer but Ruby had been open about his own preference for Vautour to run in the Ryanair and not the Gold Cup. While both were due to run in the Gold Cup, Ruby's dilemma was whether to ride the better horse or the guaranteed stayer. It was also an open secret that Vautour had been working badly.
Report impossible123 March 20, 2016 8:38 AM GMT
Do we all agree the connections of Vautour ie WPM/RW/RR, despite being "geniuses" in the own professions, have been disingenuous and disrespectful to punters and racegoers, and full of self regard only?

Do we all also agree that the racing media are also duplicitous and palpable with their lack of conviction in their responses to the Vautour affair?

If yes to both........
Report wellchief March 20, 2016 9:33 AM GMT
I don't disagree with a word of your last post Eaternal, and you are spot on.

I had been looking at the Ryanair and going in on Road to Riches several times, and was by far my biggest winner of the week.  I was looking at that race under the impression that Vautour was not running in it because of what connections said.  I also had an ew bet on Valseur Lido at 4's who ended up going off at 12's.

I was furious when Ricci said on the Morning Line they were going Ryanair, because it knackered every bet I had in the race.  Luckily I had VL and BOG with 355 so got paid at 12's ew, and I had RTR to place, which almost got my money back, but that's not the point.  So in that respect I completely agree with you.

The angle that I am coming from in this thread is that I am not prepared to allow Willie Mullins, Rich Ricci and Ruby Walsh taint my view on Vautour.  My opinion of them and my opinion of him are two different things.  They let punters down, treated us like second class citizens, but on the other hand, I love Vautour, and think he is the best horse in training.

Him running in the Ryanair hasn't lessened my opinion of him in any way.  You can say what you want about connections, but we cannot get away from the fact that Vautour was one of the most impressive winners of the week, allegedly having worked badly, but he is coming out of this with his reputation tainted, and hasn't had a single bit of credit since he won when not a fault of his whatsoever.

My initial reaction when he crossed the line was, I would have liked him in the Gold Cup, but on the other hand, what a run that was, and how good is he.

The point about fighting for column space and getting new punters in, I don't think Vautour running in the Gold Cup would have made any difference to that (to the non racing public).  Pendleton coming fifth has completely overshadowed Don Cossack and got a lot more column inches, and if you ask non racing people in the street who won the Gold Cup, I'd wager hardly any of them will have heard of Don Cossack.

For the non racing public, this Gold Cup was plenty competitive enough with Cue Card, Don, Djakadam and Smad Place imo.
Report eric_morris March 20, 2016 9:44 AM GMT
Yes treat punters as total mugs in a completely brassnecked way then came up with fairytales afterwards to insult punters even more. Didnt bother reading Walsh's BS article on Vautour on the Sporting Life site. Just shut up and go and learn from it mate.
Report eric_morris March 20, 2016 9:45 AM GMT
He's a straight talker yes. Go and learn from it, cut the BS most punters have a higher IQ than you dont insult them.
Report eric_morris March 20, 2016 9:49 AM GMT
Another thought for punters. I doubt they will be in a hurry to add a top form Vautour to next years Gold Cup field as they know if he won there will be another backlash. I would advise you to hold any bets on him for the race until day of race.
Report rl91 March 20, 2016 12:53 PM GMT
Nobody will remember that was unbeaten for 4 years and 6 from 6 at the festival don't make me laugh, if Vautour stays doing King George/Ryanair and wins 3 or 4 he again won't fall by the wayside.

It will be Vautour, people act like he was a nailed on winner of the Gold Cup, he wasn't it's just as likely he places than he wins. There is 0 doubt in my kind he was moved because connections thought Djakadam had the better chance of winning and why not win another grade 1 rather than a place in the gold cup?


Who would you remember better?
Supreme, Arkle, 3 time Ryanair winner
Or
Supreme, Arkle, 2 2nds and a 3rd in the Gold Cup

There is only one answer
Report Eeternaloptimist March 20, 2016 3:17 PM GMT
wellchief

If I haven't differentiated my comments about connections from my feelings about the horse then that was my mistake. I very much like the horse and given that my hypocrisy is limitless when it comes to actually backing horses I was more than happy to avail myself of the even money in the Ryanair. I was fortunate that I hadn't taken a position for either race ante post so in that respect the issue is immaterial to me. I like many sports but it is only boxing and National Hunt I truly love. From Norton's Coin through to Coneygree winning and Cue Card going for the million. I don't think it's pounds shillings and pence which motivate most enthusiasts of the sport but the thrill and romance.

I accept I have taken a very hard line about this but certainly in relation to Ricci I do appreciate that he has put many millions in to the game when he could have been off spending his money on any number of endeavours.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 20, 2016 3:34 PM GMT
Unless you have a crystal ball there isn't only one answer rl91. No horse is guaranteed a win in any race but the point is that Vautour was favourite in some books and if committed to the race would have probably gone off favourite for the biggest Grade 1 in National Hunt racing. I doubt many people would see The Ryanair in the top ten in terms of prestige.
Report tim6 March 20, 2016 3:45 PM GMT
R19 by your logic O'Leary should have pulled Don poli for an easier Chel race, where would that leave the gold cup. In fact I think they should do away with the Ryanair as it is taking away from the gold cup unfortunately.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 20, 2016 4:05 PM GMT
I think the season race planners have allowed the balance to get out of kilter. Cheltenham is of course the pinnacle of the jumps season but juice should also be left in it for other big meetings and specifically Aintree. There are already Championship races over two and a half there for both hurdlers and chasers. That to me makes perfect sense. Making the Ryanair a grade 1 with so much money is seeing Gold Cup horses being rerouted. Vautour, Road To Riches and Valseur Lido would have added hugely to the excitement of the big race.

During commentary when it came to the Stayers Hurdle I think it was Holt who said now we come to the big race of the day and if you have to have a four day festival it makes sense to have that race as the centrepiece. Yet the winner of that race gets less than the winner of the Ryanair.

I think there is a case to be made for returning the Ryanair to a grade 2 to stop this trend away from horses taking their chance in the big race. Let the 150+ rated horses go back to fighting out the Ryanair. Halve the prize money, boost the prize money for the Stayers and look to bump up the prize money for what should be the proper two and a half mile championship race at Aintree where you also have the chance of attracting some of the Champion Chasers as well.
Report CheltenhamRoar March 21, 2016 1:32 PM GMT
PAT KEANE: Willie Mullins has no case to answer in my book
   
   
   
   
Saturday, March 19, 2016Pat Keane

Well, Willie Mullins didn’t half pull a rabbit out of a hat when telling the mighty Vautour to sidestep yesterday’s Gold Cup at Cheltenham and instead win the Ryanair Chase on Thursday.


I first got an inkling this might happen when receiving a text from a former pressroom colleague last Sunday, indicating the possibility of a re-routing for Vautour.

Said scribbler is not given to making silly statements and I immediately knew he wouldn’t have sent the message, unless there was at least some basis for it.

On Tuesday morning Vautour’s owner, Rich Ricci, revealed that such was the case and he and Mullins were soon on the receiving end of plenty of stick from all sorts of quarters.


The Racing Post on Wednesday didn’t spare them, which I thought was quite admirable, considering Mullins is their principal columnist in the winter months.

The Post’s Paul Kealy said: “The overall perception is that connections (of Vautour) have nothing but total disregard for the paying public.’’

Lee Mottershead said: “It would be a shock if both he (Mullins) and Ricci were not embarrassed by this sorry saga. It would be remiss of us to say anything other than they should be.’’

If that is the way they feel about it then fine and they are both, obviously, more than entitled to their opinion.

But I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. Yes, ante-post punters lost out, but surely those who play that game realise its fraught nature.

We are well aware that every uttering from Ricci, and some from Mullins, clearly told us the Gold Cup was the target.

I am nearly always on the side of the punter and have spent many years trying to help them beat those honourable men, and women, who stand on boxes on track and those who often masquerade as bookmakers off track.

But, in my opinion, ante-post betting is for the birds. It is especially for the birds when you are dealing with Willie Mullins.

When it comes to Mullins you can only be completely sure something is going to happen when it actually happens. It’s not a criticism of the man, it is just the way it is.

Is there any understanding of how many balls Mullins has in the air every day?

Is there any understanding of how difficult it was for Mullins this week trying to deal with some 60 horses at Cheltenham and attempting to do the best for all of them.

The plan for a long time was to run Vautour in the Gold Cup, despite the fact many of us were convinced the horse would not stay three and a quarter-miles plus.

But it became problematic when Vautour continually failed to sparkle in his work. And there is no doubt about the veracity of that, because we simply have it from a number of sources.

If someone spends say six months getting organised to be married and, just before heading up the aisle, decides this is not the way to proceed, what should he or she do?

Should they go through with it, in order not to disappoint people, and then suffer the inevitable consequences down the line? I think we know the answer to that one.

So should Mullins have gone against everything he has ever learned about this game and run Vautour in the Gold Cup, so as not to disappoint ante-post punters, journalists and the many idiots on social media?

I doubt anyone takes his responsibilities to racing more seriously than this trainer and you never ever see him say no to an interview, no matter who asks.

In the case of the colourful Ricci his biggest “crime’’ is that, when it comes to his horses, he is probably too open and too friendly. There’s not much else can be levelled at him.

Mullins made four major calls this week and how many of them worked out? Ah, would you believe four.

Vautour was the daddy of them all, of course, but there was also Yorkhill, Black Hercules and Annie Power.

Yorkhill went for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, instead of what appeared to be his intended target, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and we all know what happened.

He dropped Black Hercules from the four-miler, down to the two and a half mile JLT Novices’ Chase, and that proved another inspired decision.

And his decision to supplement Annie Power for the Champion Hurdle wasn’t bad either.

Now you can argue that Yorkhill, Black Hercules and Annie Power were far better signposted than Vautour, but the latter was a horse struggling for some form at home and it was difficult to get the timing of the change of mind exactly right, in order to placate the moaners.

If someone wants to have an ante-post wager, that’s their own business. Much of this type of betting has to do with presenting bookmakers with opportunity after opportunity, for many months, to engage in endless waffle.

A huge amount of that waffle is more than entertained and facilitated by the media.

Remember the email of the year from Ladbrokes regarding Min and so-called Min-mania?

Weeks before the festival even started they thought 5-4 was the price he should be, for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, telling us that punters were going to run out of safe places to put their Min dockets.

Min was, “amazingly” available as high as 11-4 the morning of the race - and he didn’t win either.

Willie Mullins has no case to answer. Total disregard for the paying public my arse.

Fook me what a load of absolute tripe
Report cyclops March 21, 2016 2:04 PM GMT
Agree with much of what you say. However, you ignore two crucial points.
Firstly, the infamous "It's the Gold Cup or he stays at home" Ricci comment. "Too open and friendly" does not pardon him for that in my book.
Secondly, Mullins now says the Ryanair was in his mind for quite a while, yet he re-iterated time and again that the Gold Cup was his aim and never mentioned the Ryanair.
That's what many are upset about; changes of mind are absolutely fine - he can run them wherever he wants, it's no-one's business but his own - but what seems a deliberate misleading of the racing public is what upsets people.
A further point is that Mullins said the decision to switch was taken on Tuesday morning, whereas those in the know were helping themselves to the bounty the evening before, as was well signposted here.

If you feel there's no case to answer, I suspect you're allowing your appreciation of a fine trainer to mask a very unsavoury incident.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 21, 2016 2:36 PM GMT
Indeed. The article is shot through with inaccuracy and lame excuses. If someone in the know was making those comments on the Sunday how could Walsh be walking the course on Monday and being interviewed on RacingUK claiming that the weather was the only thing which would make the decision on which of the two Djakadam or Vautour he would ride.

As I've said before Mullins was perfectly entitled to keep his counsel and inform any questioners that a late decision would be made and that it would be either or. To have everyone including Ricci, Mullins and Walsh stating it is shiit or bust and then backtracking in the most toe curling way with bullshiit excuses brings the sport in to disrepute. News flash. This isn't the 1950's when skullduggery and putting people away was part of the folklore and allure of racing. Your Barney Curley's have been run out of the game. Your Mullins fella needs to clean up his act.
Report Eeternaloptimist March 21, 2016 2:38 PM GMT
Secondly, Mullins now says the Ryanair was in his mind for quite a while, yet he re-iterated time and again that the Gold Cup was his aim and never mentioned the Ryanair.

Worse than that cyclops. His exact words reported verbatim were:

He has only be trained for one race.

Everything else coming out of his mouth backed this one fact up. So he won the Ryanair and the writer of the article thinks the ends justified the means. He's entitled to his view.
Report Arklearkle March 21, 2016 3:03 PM GMT
Eet I dont believe you know anything about the man. He probably runs his horses more honestly than any other trainer in these islands.
Report rogerthebutler March 21, 2016 4:00 PM GMT
I don't think Mullins has any regret whatsoever in running Vautour in the Gold Cup.

It ran - it won.

......and the fact that, in my opinion and plenty more besides, he's turning the Cheltenham Festival into an utter bore punting wise and treating punters with contempt, will not bother him a bit.
Report Arklearkle March 21, 2016 4:27 PM GMT
I dont think there was anything boring about it. A mare skipping over her hurdles leading all the way in winning a CH, a brilliant horse back from the dead showing how good he was/still is winning the CC, an immaculate performance from a clear winner in the World Hurdle and a clear-cut winner in the GC. Apart from us not knowing what Cue Card would have done all were clear-cut winners and easily the best horses on the day. In addition a flawless display of jumping in the 5th most important race of the festival. Those five races were won by four favourites and a 2nd favourite. Its a long time since Cheltenham was boring and it will be a while yet before that happens. What if one trainer wins a few races we still have the very best horses taking one another on. Persoanally as per usual I booked my hotel for next year on Friday evening before I left. By the way it was the first time in about six years that I actually lost money. I was knackered and exhausted when it all ended but I dont believe I was even bored for a second. If one is a racing or horse lover it truly is the greatest show on earth. It all starts tomorrow again 51 weeks from now - roll on.
Report trigger3 March 21, 2016 5:14 PM GMT
That's a fairly astounding article from Pat Keane who you would imagine is auditioning as a PR manager for Willie Mullins. If he doesn't see anything wrong with the whole episode then God help us. He doesn appear to see the irony in him having an inkling of the re-route on Sunday and Ruby Walsh claiming he only found out about it in Tuesday morning. At best they have been economical with the truth, at worst they have grossly mislead the public.

For Mullins to have said that he always had the Ryanair in the back of his mind all along for Vautour is only adding insult to injury when you consider that all he ever mentioned was gold cup, gold cup
Report Can't Catch Me March 21, 2016 5:22 PM GMT
I personally think the one who will feel daftest of all is Rich Ricci. And I dont think WPM and RW will be best pleased with him. Obviously he's the paymaster, but this is one of the few times he doesnt call the tune imo. RR needs these two more than they need him. And he shouldnt be opening his mouth saying 'Gold Cup or he stays in his horsebox'. Its terribly naive (nothing more sinister), and Im sure he knows that now. I think we will see him being a bit less vocal from now on myself.

I think its surprising how little owners really know.

Im not aftertiming, as I stated it on enough threads, but I felt they would do this all along. And I cant really blame them for it. It wasnt the choice of races that was the problem, it was the things that were said. And RR caused most of that.
Report trigger3 March 21, 2016 5:37 PM GMT
CCM, what this whole affair shows is that Ricci is totally reliant on Mullins making the decisions for him and really has little input into the decision making. It simply wouldn't happen with Gigginstown as they would be calling the shots themselves. Your assertion that RR need Mullins and Walsh more than they need him is very debatable though. If Ricci pulled his horses out of Mullins yard in the morning and went to Henderson say, the landscape changes completely.
Report ReaseHeath March 21, 2016 6:03 PM GMT
I doubt Ricci will pull his horses out but I would n't be the surprised in the slightest to see him place one or two of his new ones with other prominent trainers either side of the Irish Sea.

The only surprise to me is that he has n't done so already given how commercially savvy he supposedly is.
Report Arklearkle March 21, 2016 6:11 PM GMT
I give up. Some complaining because he's winning too much and now at least one saying hes not winning enough.
Report impossible123 March 21, 2016 6:21 PM GMT
I think it will take WPM several more years before he can train the winner of the Gold Cup if WPM maintains his current training methodology, why? The main aim of WPM presently is to win as many races as possible at the Festival in the immediate term ie short term gain at the expense of a long term Blue Riband race winner like the Gold Cup.

In my opinion the Gold Cup is usually won by a horse that has been trained with the Gold Cup specially in mind; this is usually achieved progressively thro' the tested routes from hurdles to fences eg Neptune/AB to JLT/RSA, and as such prospective candidates must not be mucked about in terms of race objectives or race distances. 

A brief analysis on the suitable winners of WPM at the Festival just past to determine the possible candidates. For instance, the two most suitable candidates ie Black Hercules (BH), Shaneshill, Outlander and Kilulltagh Vic (KV) - Djakadam has its chances and a very, very unlikely winner.

Yorkhill: it won the Neptune, but will it be trained for the Champion Hudle, JLT or RSA? Very unlikely the Champion Chase given WPM's abundance candidates presently, most likely the Champion Hurdle. If not, the JLT or the RSA - if the RSA, it will be 2018 before running in the CGC. 

Black Hercules (BH): it won the JLT but the 4 miler race was considered as 1st preference until last minute reroute; it is also in the same ownership as Yorkhill and Shaneshill, and the owner's stipulation is not to run own horses against one another no matter what. On that basis only one could be chosen, which one? The most probable one would be Black Hercules solely because it won the JLT, and Shaneshill, despite running 2nd in the RSA - an afterthought race - does not stay 24f in a strongly run race (I firmly believe), the market leaders in this race, one fatally injured and the other broke blood vessels. Bellshill and Yorkhill are too inexperienced to be considered in the mix for next year's CGC.

The other two possibilities eg Outlander and Killultagh Vic (KV) - both in different ownership; the former in the same ownership as No More Heroes (NMH) who was sadly fatally injured will probably be trained for the CGC next year as his replacement, and KV, if sound, most likely for the Ryanair, given WPM's candidates in Vautour, Djakadam and BH for the CGC.

With Don Cossack (only 10 next year) eventually fulfilling his promised potential by winning his 1st CGC, the possibility of Thistlecrack joining the fray next year, Vautour's stamina, Djakadam and BH ability and Outlander's inexperience, etc, it could be several more years before WPM could lay his hand on the Gold Cup in my opinion.
Report eric_morris March 21, 2016 8:47 PM GMT
Read that back and then ask yourself why would i bother trying to work that lot out? Even if you get the targets right months in advance you also have to get there on the day and also win the race. Financial suicide at the antepost prices on offer. The layers on here will be concentrating on multiple race possibilities Mullins horses and there could be plenty of lambs to the slaughter trying to get this impossible formula right.
Report Pleasegivemeanailedontip March 21, 2016 10:45 PM GMT
Some good posts on here. Few points from me to bring it down a notch..

1. Not overbothered about the antepost bets i lost or that were compromised. Its more important that the sport doesnt lose out by shooting itself in the foot. Mullins comment correct if im wrong was that vautour would not have been rerouted had djakadam not sparkled in the final week. Ergo Vautour was pulled out of the blue riband event despite being deemed capable of competing for it. I cant stand that decision.

2. Whether hes knowledgeable/clueless/crooked/straight.....nobody owes ricci anything for his involvement in racing, do they? If he wasnt around, the horses still would be, they would just be owned by other people. All hes doing is driving up prices for better horses so it becomes more difficult for smaller owners to compete. Is he putting money into the sport somewhere else?
Report duffy March 22, 2016 12:14 AM GMT
It would be ironic if it was Ricci who ended up moving some horses as opposed to Wylie, incidentally Wylie's star has risen considerably in the last 7 days through the performance of some of his stars.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 9:21 AM GMT
The departure of RW from Footpad (has always been the pilot) in the Triumph could be the beginning of the "agreement" between these entities. RR has been made an "as*" of by WPM/RW in the Vautour debacle, and possibly AP not running against Hurricane Fly in previous Champion Hurdles when she should have done so.
Report Can't Catch Me March 22, 2016 10:32 AM GMT
duffy. Why do you think RR would move any horses? WPM buys the horses and as far as Im concerned, RR is lucky to be getting first pick of them. If he decided he'd had enough tomorrow, WPM would almost certainly still have the majority of these horses, they would just be running in different colours. I genuinely don't think he will be struggling for big money owners. He maybe wouldn't have the full armoury that he has now, but I dont think it would be alot different as if RR goes, plenty of the other big owners will be attracted to the yard and its track record of success.

I actually had a chat with a very good friend of Wylie's on the Tuesday night and apparently he wasnt overly pleased that Yorkhill had been switched to the Neptune. His preferred option was the Supreme, but he left it to WPM (as he always does). Im pretty sure he wont have been too unhappy Wednesday evening!

And thats the point imo. All that matters is that WPM keeps getting it right and giving each horse the best possible chance in each race.... and based on this years Festival, I dont see how anyone can argue he isnt doing that. And incredibly well to boot. The one I was most unhappy from a pocket perspective, but also most puzzled from a form perspective, was Shaneshill being rerouted from the JLT to the RSA. What happened? Wylie won the JLT anyway, and Shaneshill ran a brilliant race to be second in the RSA. What can you say, other than I was wrong and they were right. Yet again!
Report Arklearkle March 22, 2016 1:20 PM GMT
Originally the JLT was the race which suited Shaneshill best but his jumping has been very poor and the longer distance/slower pace gave him a chance. The anti WM brigade are even more angry because they missed out on some wonderful good-priced favourites. Some of them will never learn. For all non-handicap NH races run in UK/Ireland over the last five seasons WM favourites have returned a greater than 50% winning strike rate. Happily the begrudgers continue to boost the prices.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 1:40 PM GMT
I'm fairly certain if Shaneshill had remained in the JLT and run up to the form he showed in the RSA or prior to the Doncaster race Shaneshill would have won the JLT without a shadow of a doubt on my path, and I shall be backing Shaneshill accordingly come Aintree. I'm afraid the performances of the 1st and 2nd in the RSA were made to look better because of the misfortunes of NMH and MOT.

The similar could be said for the JLT eg the principals, Outlander and GLV jumped badly, and the ground for against BDM. And LS did not stay despite taking it up after juming to the front at the 2nd last. Again, I shall back accordingly come Aintree. In my opinion WPM was merely "lucky".

I'm sorry but I cannot have a lofty regard for WPM and his placement of horses when he'd preferred BH for the 4 miler instead of the RSA - he was scared of NMH and MOT - and "sacrificed" Shaneshill when Shaneshill was clearly outstayed by NMH and KV over 20f and 24f respectively last year, and again by Blaklion in the recent RSA. Any trainer could be made to look better given the appropriate and sizeable ammunitions accorded to WPM, his scarce and infrequent success on handicaps says it all in my opinion.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 1:42 PM GMT
By the way I had Shaneshill here at 80 for the RSA when I "knew" BH would be running in the JLT.
Report Arklearkle March 22, 2016 1:52 PM GMT
Impossible it is very difficult for an honest trainer to win handicaps. The only hope one has is with unexposed types mainly in hurdle races.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 2:02 PM GMT
HRA Cecil did it on the flat with Kneller in the Ebor at York.

I'm not saying WPM is dishonest but I do not regard him as a brilliant trainer as lauded by some just because he has the right ammunitions - his frequent indecisiveness in placing his runners tells me he is not.

In my opinion Yorkhill was rerouted mainly because of RW riding and avoiding Min; I believe given a "better" ride by BG I'd back Yanworth against Yorkhill on the same terms and distance.
Report rogerthebutler March 22, 2016 2:11 PM GMT
He is the 'winningmost' trainer at the Festival in recent years and that is all he and his owners want.
Report duffy March 22, 2016 2:17 PM GMT
CCM

I don't think it, I just said it would be ironic.
Report duffy March 22, 2016 2:19 PM GMT
impossible123
     22 Mar 16 13:42   

By the way I had Shaneshill here at 80 for the RSA when I "knew" BH would be running in the JLT.



me tooGrinCry
Report Arklearkle March 22, 2016 2:26 PM GMT
Impossible the good trainers appear to get the best ammunition
Report duffy March 22, 2016 2:30 PM GMT
Another owner getting hold of those guys that spot the horses would change things a bit, that's what they need to target.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 2:34 PM GMT
duffy,

Only had 250p "free" bet going on at 80 here in the RSA but I knew Shaneshill would not get home.

Arklearkle

WPM is undoubtedly a good trainer, nothing more, and so is RW as a jockey - he sits like a mouse - until effort is needed unlike one or two with their "animated" actions.
Report impossible123 March 22, 2016 2:38 PM GMT
Just bid slightly more against the person who is buying on WPM/connections' behalf, and pray it is not another Snaffi Dancer!
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