Scottish sortie pays double for Mulholland
Conkwell Grange trainer Neil Mulholland was rewarded for the 886 mile round trip to Perth on Sunday when Soupy Soups and Frau Georgia maintained the yard's admirable strike rate in the Sam Morshead Perth Gold Cup and subsequent Mares Hurdle, broadcast live on ITV Racing's first visit to the course.
Mulholland's raid on Perth numbered seven runners in six of the nine races and only three returned out of the frame, reinforcing the stable's fine form in the second month of the campaign.
The Perth Gold Cup, highlight of the racing season in the Highlands, is regularly farmed by southern raiders. In the past 10 renewals, it's been won twice each by Welshman Peter Bowen and Somerset's David Pipe, whilst Kim Bailey and Tom George have also scored for the West Country.
This year's race, named after the architect of modern day Perth's racing renaissance, Sam Morshead, who succumbed to cancer in September 2018. Sam, formerly jockey to Fred & Mercy Rimell at Kinnersley, was born in Cornwall, but adopted an Irish view on life after growing up across the Irish Sea. After 400 winners, he became Clerk of the Course at Perth in 1988 and re-energised the course, to the extent that the powerhouse stables of the southern counties went out of their way to send runners.
It could be said that Soupy Soups won handily on Sunday, winning half a length from As You Like for Jonjo O'Neill. He may yet have a little in hand for next time. Look out for him in the Badger Beer Chase where he did everything but win last year.
Frau Georgia, by contrast, hasn't been troubling the judge hitherto, but showed notable improvement in form to win quite readily by 7 1/2 l. Both look capable of winning again.
Mulholland hasn't let the grass grow under his feet over the enforced break. His 79 runners since July 1 have rendered 11 winners, supplementing a further 5 winners on the Flat this year. In company with many of his peer group, he is making hay before the big guns really get going as the autumn heralds more higher value races.
Meantime, it's now a little under 2 months until Point-to-Point racing starts again at Maisemore Park in Gloucestershire.