Allaho put up an imperious display when proving his stamina in no uncertain terms in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup at Punchestown on Wednesday.
Punchestown Gold Cup (5.55) - Allaho powers to victory in the Punchestown Gold Cup, beating last year's winner Clan des Obeaux into 2nd place, 2019 winner Kemboy into 4th, with Al Boum Photo nestling in 3rd - Another triumph for @ptownend and Willie Wullins #rteracing pic.twitter.com/HVfgEYLeFM— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) April 27, 2022
The dual Ryanair Chase winner had not run over three miles since meeting with defeat in the Savills Chase of 2020 – and in the interim he has well and truly shown himself to be the best chaser in training over two and a half miles.
Willie Mullins even dropped him in distance to two miles at this meeting last year, but following on from another dominant performance at Cheltenham the champion trainer was confident enough to go up in trip.
Paul Townend rode him as if there was absolutely no doubt about his stamina and so it proved.
Last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux and Harry Cobden were determined not to allow Allaho an easy lead and raced with him for the first two miles, but from a long way out Townend began to wind up the pace.
It proved too much for Minella Indo who was pulled up a long way from home, while Galvin was another well-fancied runner who never got on terms.
Al Boum Photo and Kemboy, stablemates of the winner, both travelled well for a long way but from three out were chasing in vain.
Townend was still on the bridle as he popped over the second-last when Clan Des Obeaux looked tired and a mistake from Kemboy cost him any chance.
Allaho got in tight to the last – his only slight mistake – but the 6/5 favourite had 14 lengths in hand over Clan Des Obeaux, who deserved plenty of credit for attempting to make a race of it. Al Boum Photo was third, with Kemboy fourth.
Winning rider Paul Towend beamed afterwards: “He (Allaho) is a monster, isn't he?
??? "Look, he's a monster!"— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 27, 2022
An interesting debrief from @PTownend who is full of praise for Allaho but thinks the eight-year-old has jumped better in the past despite this remarkable victory.@punchestownrace | #PTown22 pic.twitter.com/k0mtX5Bbeo
"He wasn’t left at every fence. He was just correcting himself, which he has done before. I didn’t want to interfere with him galloping but at the same time I wasn’t gonna give him a root in the belly and set him alight three from home but fair play to Willie for rolling the dice and the owners. He’s obviously an older and stronger horse now.
“They were always going to test if he stayed or not but he can take horses out of their comfort zone.
“Any winner here, with the crowd back is brilliant. Punchestown is a massive festival and it’s even better when you’re riding for Willie Mullins.”
Willie Mullins, who was enjoying a Grade 1 brace on the day after The Nice Guy earlier, added: “I didn’t think Paul was going to be so bold on him and jump out to the front from the start but it worked.
“He didn’t take any prisoners. He told me he was going to jump out and I looked at him and he said, ‘Sure he’ll stay, won’t he?’ and I said, ‘Of course he will!’ As it turned out, Clan Des Obeaux was the only one able to stay with him.
“Bryan Cooper, who rode Al Boum Photo, said he’d never ridden in as fast a Gold Cup in his life. It was just end-to-end stuff. That was good to see.
“He just got beaten in Cheltenham as a novice over three miles and that day, I think he was up in front with something else taking him on. He’s a lot more mature now and he’ll stay, I think.
“I’ll have a word with Richard Thompson and Mrs (Patricia) Thompson. That opens a lot more options for him now anyhow. You could probably say King George, the way he jumps there.
“He’s just got a huge engine. I always hoped that he could do what he did there today. I was a bit worried that he could only put in that sort of performance over two and a half miles but now he’s able to do it over three, so it’s all good looking forward and he’s going to be more mature again next year. These three-mile chasers need plenty of time.”
??? On Allaho: "Do we need to [step up in trip]?"— Racing TV (@RacingTV) April 27, 2022
??? On Facile Vega: "He's the sort of horse you have to love."
??? On The Nice Guy: "In the morning, at home, he's absolutely useless!"
Some interesting quotes from @WillieMullinsNH on today's @punchestownrace winners ?? pic.twitter.com/SSEOGN9rNO