All Conquering Mullins Targeting Gold Cup

It’s hardly headline news, you might think. After all, Willie Mullins does possess four Cheltenham Gold Cups, 13 Irish Gold Cups, six Punchestown Gold Cups, and five Boylesports Gold Cups. However, the gleaming trophy Mullins has in his sights this time does not belong to the jumps racing sphere but is instead the most coveted prize of the season for the leading flat stayers.

Serving as the centrepiece on Day 3 of the Royal Ascot Festival and held over a trip of 2m4f, the Gold Cup would appear one of the most natural targets for National Hunt trainers attempting to grab a slice of the spotlight, and this year, it seems that Mullins can’t resist the allure.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

2024 won’t be the first time Mullins has attempted to crack the Gold Cup puzzle. The British and Irish Champion Jumps Trainer came closest in 2013, when Simenon lost out by just a neck to The Queen’s horse Estimate, whilst Burning Victory ran a solid race to finish fourth behind Kyprios in 2022.

Kyprios will again lie in wait, with the Aidan O’Brien runner a warm favourite with most firms. Whilst impressive in his two recent outings, those wins came at a lower level, and he needs to prove he retains his Group 1 ability, having missed the bulk of last season through injury.

Vauban Bidding for Second Royal Ascot Success

Ascot Gold Cup Odds - 2024

Should any chinks emerge in the Kyprios armour, Mullins will hope that Vauban is the horse to expose them. Putting his bitter disappointment in the Melbourne Cup aside, this Rich Ricci runner boasts an appealing profile for the race, having won the 2022 Triumph Hurdle and turned the 2023 edition of the Copper Horse Handicap at this meeting into a procession. Fit and well following his recent return at York, he looks like a big player – if handling the step up to 2m4f for the first time in his career.

Absurde a Strong Second String

Stablemate Absurde may yet join Vauban in the Gold Cup field. Having risen to a mark too high for the handicaps, this admirably versatile performer could be given his shot at Group 1 glory. No match for Vauban in the 2023 Copper Horse Handicap, he was nevertheless the best of the rest and may well be suited by the additional distance of this race. Regularly proving himself the horse for the big occasion, a stellar 2023 campaign included wins in the Ebor Handicap on the flat at York and the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Other Mullins Hopefuls

The Gold Cup may have eluded Mullins so far, but he is no stranger to success at the Royal Meeting. In addition to Vauban’s victory in the Copper Horse Handicap, he has picked up four wins in the Ascot Stakes.

Belloccio goes for the Copper Horse Handicap this time, whilst My Lyka will attempt to add to that impressive Ascot Stakes record.