Final Approach Claims Victory at Leopardstown
Even when a trainer has unshakable confidence that his efforts will pay off with a win, there are so many variables in horse racing that a ‘sure thing’ can sometimes turn out to be more than disappointing. But then there are times when a ‘sure thing’ is just that, and this proved to be the case for trainer Willie Mullins and owner Douglas Taylor when Final Approach proved his trainer and owner’s confidence to be valid by claiming first place in the Grade B MCR Hurdle on at Leopardstown on Sunday. This race is run over a distance of two miles and is open to racehorses of age four and above. Superbly coaxed to victory by jockey Paul Townend, Final Approach delivered a superb performance, holding off a field of twenty-six very strong contenders in this prestigious event.
As the founder and CEO of the MCR Group which had put up the sponsorship money for the race, Douglas Taylor in effect won his own money back – with interest - when final approach took first place at odds of 6-1. Paul Townend steered a strong path hard against the rail in the race, and after streaking to the front before the final flight, horse and rider kept in the lead crossing the finish line two lengths ahead of stablemate Call the Police – another horse with a bright future ahead of it. Third place was claimed by Mutadarek, trained by Joanna Morgan, and fourth place went to Northern Alliance. A favorite to win, and with quite a following of fans, Prima Vista delivered a disappointing performance, coming in at seventh place.
In a post-race interview, trainer Willie Mullins is reported to have said regarding Final Approach: "This horse probably got to the front a bit soon, but he's enjoying his racing over hurdles now and it all worked out well for us. Paul gave the horse a perfect ride down the brave man's route and this is what we have been aiming for all year." With regard to Call The Police, Mullins noted: "It was a hell of a good run. He'll stay over the hurdles this season, but chasing will be his game and we might step him up in trip as well."