Stamullen trainer John McConnell’s Mahler Mission will aim to become just the second winner of the Coral Gold Cup trained in Ireland since 1980 when he lines up at Newbury on Saturday.
When Michael O’Brien’s Bright Highway took the spoils that year, there would have been long odds on it taking so long before another from the Emerald Isle was successful.
Willie Mullins’ Be My Royal did cross the line first in 2002 but was subsequently disqualified for testing positive for a banned substance before Mullins eventually won the contest with Total Recall in 2017.
Mahler Mission, an 8/1 chance for the race with Betway, and 7’s with the race sponsor, still held every chance at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase when coming down two out and made a pleasing comeback at Carlisle over a distance shy of his best.
“He put in an exhibition of jumping at Carlisle over a trip that was too short for him. He’s a very good jumper and was getting tired when he fell at Cheltenham,” McConnell told Racing TV.
“Ben (Harvey) will be on him. He knows him and gets on with him. We’re looking forward to going for the Coral with a live chance.
“Ben has grown up with me, he started when he was 15. He did so well as a conditional and he has a good clock in his head.
“He’s a big horse with a lovely racing weight (10st 10lb). We were always going to go for one of the big handicap chases. This one is a valuable pot run at a lovely track which offers a fair playing field.
“Physically he looks as good as he’s ever looked. He’s not pretty, but he’s starting to fill out into his frame now.”
Coral Gold Cup odds – via Betway
Complete Unknown 13/2
Monbeg Genius 7/1
Mahler Mission 8/1
Midnight River 10/1
Stolen Silver 14/1
Our Power, Remastered, Stumptown 16/1