Willie Mullins confirms Kemboy will defend Savill’s Chase crown over Christmas

Star chaser one of seven ex-Supreme horses registered again with HRI

Willie Mullins will target Kemboy at Leopardstown's Grade One Savills Chase over Christmas.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup second favourite was entered for the race on Wednesday when among seven horses formerly owned by Supreme Racing Club that had their new registrations accepted by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

In October HRI barred all horses owned by Supreme from running and this month all registrations of horses under their ownership were voided.

Up to 30 horses were reportedly involved but last week one of them was successfully re-registered with HRI under a newly formed syndicate.


That same formula has now allowed seven more horses to be registered again with Irish racing’s ruling body and Kemboy is the most prominent among them.

“Leopardstown is the plan. I didn’t stop training him and we’ve focused on getting ready for Christmas. Basically nothing has changed. Our plans are the same,” Mullins said.

Kemboy jumped to stardom by winning last year’s Savills Chase and won twice more at the top-level at Aintree and Punchestown.

He hasn't been seen in action since giving Ruby Walsh a perfect retirement at Punchestown but only Lostintranslation is ahead of him in most ante-post Gold Cup lists.

Back on track

“A huge amount of work has been done by HRI and the individual syndicate members in all the different horses at such short notice.

“It really shows what good people were in Supreme Racing. I know there’s still a lot to be sorted out but to get such agreement from all parties is great. A lot of people are committed to getting the horse back on track,” Mullins added.

The Supreme Racing Club collapsed on the back of claims of shares being oversold in horses and a failure to supply HRI with requested information.

Efforts to allow horses resume their racing careers paid off on Wednesday with half a dozen others, including Aramon, Cadmium and Defy Du Mee once again registered with the authorities.

Thurles solicitor Patrick Kennedy, who has been engaged by a significant number of the almost 500 ex-members of Supreme, said a lot still has to be done.

“It’s great to get these over the line. But a considerable amount of work is still going in terms of re-registering others,” he said.

Kennedy also stressed that registration with HRI allows horses to race but that their ownership is a different issue to be sorted out.

A HRI statement said: “The new registrations have been formed under new syndicates comprising members who have come forward as shareholders in those horses.

“The new syndicates have agreed that any prize money won will be held within their HRI syndicate account and now withdrawals will be permitted until at least the end of the 2019-20 National Hunt season.

“This will allow members time to take further steps including finalising the shareholding in each horse.”

Mullins sends a handful of runners to Thurles on Thursday and looks likely to dominate the mares conditions hurdle with both Elfile and My Sister Sarah.

Elfile has a slight edge on ratings and may also appreciate the two mile trip more.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column