Best ever live race – Ascot Gold Cup 2015
This won’t be top of everyone’s list and that’s understandable but we all have personal preference. Our own personal connection to one particular race is what makes a race special, and for me there is none more special than The 2015 Ascot Gold Cup. A real rags to riches story, a story of progression, desire and confidence.
Trip to Paris began the 2015 flat season rated just a mere 88. His first start of the season came in the Roseberry Handicap over 1m 3f’s at Kempton. He was beaten 2l’s but made eye catching late progress which marked him up to me as a horse to follow. Follow I did and next time out he duly delivered by winning a 1m 4f’s handicap at Lingfield Park. He won by just a head, scrambled home if you like but the win gave Trip to Paris confidence. Ed Dunlop then decided to step the horse up in trip, when a horse steps up in trip I always take note so once again at Ripon now running over 2m I followed the horse in again. He delivered winning by a cosy 4l’s and for now at least all roads led to the Roudee. The Chester Cup is a personal favourite of mine and after that Ripon performance there was only one horse I wanted to be on. Turning for home he had around 15l’s to make up on the leaders. The straight at Chester is barely a 1f ½ in distance and you very rarely see a horse come from so far back to be victorious. Trip to Paris however had something that other horses didn’t and that was desire.
A desire to win coined with an impressive turn of foot and bags of stamina left his rivals somewhat perplexed as he stormed home under Graham Lee. Now rated 103 Ed Dunlop had little choice but to make the move into graded company. He decided to send the horse to Sandown for the Henry II Stakes over 2m’s. I actually went against the horse here for two reasons, one was that the ground was rattling fast and two was that this was his first run outside of handicap company. It proved a good move as my selection Vent De Force won nicely enough under Richard Hughes. Trip to Paris came home in 2nd just 1l down and the connections now had the confidence needed to supplement him for the Ascot Gold Cup.
When connections supplement a horse you simply as a punter or horse racing fan have to take note. Ed Dunlop knew he had a great chance at Gold Cup glory and his confidence was well and truly rewarded. From a mere mark of 88 Trip to Paris rose through the handicap ranks to Ascot Gold Cup glory. Graham Lee rode the horse brilliantly throughout the race, holding onto him until they reached the furlong pole before Trip to Paris quickened to the front and outstayed them all. A terrific training performance and a truly terrific racing story.