Boston Bob brings home the Gold
Boston Bob came late and came fast to take the Punchestown Gold Cup under a typically barnstorming ride from Ruby Walsh. This season’s Melling Chase winner had been given the vote by Walsh over Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up On His Own for the Grade 1 contest and it proved to be a decision well made, as the pair survived some erratic jumping towards the end to get the better of First Lieutenant in a thrilling finish.
The 9yo had been a high quality Novice Chaser last year but after suffering two heavy falls at the end of last season, he was reverted to hurdles as he set out on this campaign. He would only return to tackling the bigger obstacles in last month’s Ryanair Chase where he would finish a creditable 6th, before getting back to winning ways at Aintree.
Today’s step up in trip was a big plus for Willie Mullins’ charge here, particularly on this ground and having sat off the pace throughout, he would only get going as the field approached the 2nd last.
First Lieutenant had hit the front at this stage and was still travelling well in the hands of Barry Geraghty, but Boston Bob was staying on and despite wandering slightly and making a mess of the last, kicked clear under an all out effort from Walsh to cross the line 3 1/4 lengths ahead of First Lieutenant, with Long Run a further 3 1/2 lengths back in third.
A relieved Walsh said: “I have to thank Willie. I never thought I’d be siding with On His Own over Boston Bob, but I rode them both the other morning and I was definitely leaning On His Own’s way.
“On Monday morning I was talking to Willie and he fairly convinced me to ride this lad, so thanks to him.
“He ducked and I nearly fell off him. He was a bit deliberate at the second-last and wasn’t great at the last. He hung left, but he quickened up and won.”
Mullins himself added: “Boston Bob is just improving. I thought he’d been unlucky twice at Cheltenham but he’s got his reward for what he shows me at home.
“I was disappointed with On His Own, who needed a bit of company and his jumping went to pieces.
“I’m thinking of the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris for On His Own and I think we’ll bring Boston Bob back next season and aim him for the (Cheltenham) Gold Cup. He has turned the corner now.”
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