Mullins targets maiden Gold Cup

Kauto Star and reigning champion Long Run may have dominated the headlines in the build-up to Friday’s Betfred Gold Cup but trainer Willie Mullins believes his charge Quel Esprit can upset the heavily fancied duo.

Long Run is priced at 7/4 to secure a second successive victory in the showpiece event, while double champion Kauto Star is 7/2.

Quel Esprit is available at 14/1 and Mullins, who has never managed to secure a win in the Gold Cup, believes the eight-year-old can come out on top on Friday.

“He’s earned himself a tilt at the Gold Cup and we’re just hoping. We’ve always thought a fair bit of him and were disappointed last year with two falls and a brought down, but I think he is improving and it looks that way this year,” Mullins told the British Horseracing Authority.

“If my lad keeps improving it would be great to get in the place money, and you never know what happens on the day. We wouldn’t be worried about stamina and I don’t think we are worried about jumping. He’ll be up there from the beginning and we’ll hope for the best.”

The exciting grey has been in fine form ahead of Friday’s race with three successive wins, including the Grade One Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month.

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