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Dissecting the past three winners of the Irish Gold Cup



Horse Racing

Dissecting the past three winners of the Irish Gold Cup

Whether it be Carlingford Lough’s back-to-back triumphs in 2015-16, Beef or Salmon’s three victories in five renewals in the early 2000s, or Florida Pearl’s hattrick in 1999, 2000 and 2001 – jumps racing fans have been treated to many incredible performances at Leopardstown’s Irish Gold Cup since the famed race’s inception in 1987.

With that in mind, let’s dissect the past three winners of the three-mile Grade 1 national hunt steeplechase and how each respective horse has performed since. Read on to find out more.


2022 – Conflated

After a strong performance in December of 2021, in which he finished first past the post in a handicap chase at Navan – Conflated entered the Irish Gold Cup in solid nick. His performance didn’t appear to excite those betting on horse racing until just prior to the race however, with the Gordon Elliott-trained horse entering as an outsider for the Grade 1 fixture at 18/1 – which was down from 40/1 from the night before.

Up against a star-studded field that included the likes of reigning champion Kemboy and 2020 Irish Gold Cup winner Delta Work – Elliott would’ve known heading into the race that his jockey Davy Russell had to give his thoroughbred a flawless ride if the nine-year-old was to upset his better-fancied rivals.

Russell did just that, timing his run to perfection to streak away from his opposition over the final two fences to win comfortably by more than five lengths. It’s a testament to Conflated’s ability, but also highlights his unpredictability, with his performances oftentimes a stark difference from race to race – something that Elliott alluded to in a post-race interview.

“I said to [owner] Eddie [O’Leary] before the race he’d either win or pull up,Elliott said.

“He has a massive engine but he’s not very straightforward. He’s a good horse on his day. He’s very hot and cold, and he was hot today.”

Conflated’s level of inconsistency has continued since, with disappointing runs at Cheltenham and Down Royal, to coincide with a second-place finish at Aintree and a win most recently at Leopardstown in December.


2021 – Kemboy

As mentioned earlier, 2021’s Irish Gold Cup was the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy. After failing to secure a win throughout the 2020 calendar year, the then nine-year-old had a strong field to contend with that boasted a talented favourite in Minella Indo. Additionally, there was a particular concern that the ground may have been too soft for Kemboy.

Any concerns were thrown out the window immediately, as the French-bred horse romped home to win by two lengths from The Storyteller and Delta Work – and in doing so – secured Mullins his 11th Irish Gold Cup triumph. Whilst Kemboy’s performance was one to savour – his form since has been less than stellar. Having failed to win in the past two years, of which includes four consecutive second-place finishes in his last four starts – he is still yet to replicate the heights of February 2021.


2020 – Delta Work

In what was a thrilling encounter, Delta Work showed plenty of grit to finish over the top of Kemboy and Presenting Percy by a length and a half. After being held up early in the race, jockey Jack Kennedy pushed his gelding shy of the leaders two out, before improving to take the lead just before the last fence.

Despite a valiant effort from the chasing pack, Delta Work managed to hold on and secure his trainer Elliott with his maiden Irish Gold Cup victory. The French-bred horse has been largely inconsistent since however, winning just two of his past 10 races.


We hope you enjoyed the article “Dissecting the past three winners of the Irish Gold Cup.” Who do you think will win this years Irish Gold Cup? Let us know!


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Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Reading. An avid footballer, he spent time under the FAW academy programme as well as Cardiff Corinthians. Later going on to play for his university and Wellington United whilst residing in New Zealand. He currently resides in Frome, Somerset. You can contact him at [email protected]


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