The form of Total Recall could make the Irish horse an outside contender to win the Grand National in March next year. One for Arthur’s injury has guaranteed that there will be a new champion at Aintree this season and there are a number of strong competitors that are vying for the crown. However, Willie Mullins’ charge has made a fine start to the National Hunt campaign and is a solid candidate to challenge the likes of Blaklion and Native River come crunch time.
Total Recall has claimed back-to-back wins for the first time in his career, triumphing at Limerick and Newbury to claim the Ladbrokes Trophy. As a result, the eight-year-old is now backed in the Grand National betting odds as low as 20/1, highlighting his progress since the start of the term when he was considered a rank outsider at best for the meet. Mullins’ charge now has the task of maintaining his form until April, where he will have to rise to the occasion to deliver a famous win.
The bay gelding has not enjoyed consistency throughout his career. He began in the 2014-15 campaign and it took two races before he notched his opening win in the Michael Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden Hurdle in Punchestown. However, Total Recall would notch another victory for another year, enduring a four-race stretch without entering the winners’ circle.
However, he bounced back with a fine performance at the Naas Supporters Handicap Hurdle. The Irish horse was not considered the favourite for the event, but was able to come through the field after a steady start to the meet. Total Recall had enough pace down the stretch to see off the late surge of his compatriot Aengus to secure the victory.
The Irish horse should have been able to kick on, but then suffered the worst run of form of his career. He finished ninth at Fairyhouse before pulling up in his next outing at Punchestown, while matters only got worse when he fell at Thurles. A fourth-place finish at Navan stemmed the tide, but on his return to Thurles at the end of 2016 he unseated jockey Jonathan Burke.
Roger Loughran took to the saddle in Total Recall’s next outing at Navan, with the hope of ending the Irish horse’s poor stretch of form. The bay gelding produced an outstanding outing to end his troubles on the track, winning the Prancer and Dancer Rated Novice Chase by seven lengths ahead of his nearest challenger.
However, he failed to compete in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase and his next outing at Naas to end the campaign. Total Recall’s poor performances resulted in a change of trainer from Sandra Hughes to Mullins and the move prompted immediate success, with the Irish horse triumphing in the Munster National Handicap Chase. Ruby Walsh guided his charge to success by seven lengths, delivering on expectations after being named the race favourite in Limerick.
Total Recall enhanced his credentials with his best win of his career at the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase. The eight-year-old was considered the favourite for the event and Mullins’ charge was able to claim the victory with a fine outing. He came through the field, running in a smooth rhythm. Jockey Paul Townend began the surge two fences out and the bay gelding was able to see off the threat of French horse Whisper to clinch the crown. On current form, the Irish horse will be hard to stop at the National, although he has yet to make an appearance at Aintree and that could play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the meet.