Kemboy

Kemboy Horse

Kemboy, foaled on May 9, 2012, is a multiple Grade 1 staying chaser trained by Willie Mullins and owned by the Supreme Horse Racing Club, with just under £500,000 prize money to his name.

He is out of French mare Vitora and sired by Voix Du Nord, whose offspring includes Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’Allen, two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Defi Du Seuil and Vroum Vroum Mag.

The seven-year-old was initially trained by the Matzinger team, finishing second on his sole French start at Divonne-Les-Bains. He was then bought out of the yard by Supreme Racing and sent to multiple Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins.

Kemboy Races

Kemboy duly delivered on Irish debut at Limerick, winning a modest maiden hurdle as the 8/13 favourite under Ruby Walsh, only being nudged out towards the line.

He would then be stepped up in class in January 2017, finishing second behind favoured stablemate Let’s Dance in a Leopardstown Grade 2 novice hurdle.

After unplaced runs at Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals, he was immediately sent over the bigger obstacles, being beaten on chase debut by Gordon Elliott’s Sutton Place at Fairyhouse in January 2018 but got his head in front again at the same track later that month.

Kemboy would struggle at Cheltenham in Graded company, but after falling in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse he bounced back with a convincing Grade 3 novice chase success at Limerick in April 2018.

He would again land another significant gamble at the Punchestown Festival later that month, being the subject of market support to go off the 11/4 favourite in a competitive Grade A novice handicap. Off a lenient mark of 147, Kemboy travelled strongly into the race under Paul Townend and swept clear to win by an eased-down five lengths. It would be his last run at handicap level.

After a summer break, he kicked off the 2018/19 campaign with Grade 2 victory in open class for the first time, beating Gigginstown duo Alpha Des Obeaux and A Toi Phil in the Clonmel Oil Chase.

Arguably his best performance to date came in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival on December 28, 2018.

David Mullins took the ride with stable jockey Ruby Walsh on Bellshill and Mullins took up the running with a circuit to run, deeming the gallop not strong enough for his mount. That proved to be a masterstroke.

The enterprising Mullins made it a true test of stamina and despite the chasing pack closing in at the second last, Kemboy (8/1) had enough in the tank to pull away and win in the end by seven-and-a-half lengths from Monalee and Road To Respect.

That victory booked Kemboy’s spot in the Blue Riband event of the season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup which took place at Prestbury Park on Friday March 15, 2019. However, anticipation and expectation soon turned into heartache for the Supreme Racing team as Kemboy buckled on landing at the first, unshipping David Mullins in the process.

Willie Mullins would win the race and his maiden Cheltenham Gold Cup with Al Boum Photo, who would lock horns again with his stablemate at the Punchestown Festival.

In the interim, Kemboy claimed a second Grade 1 prize at Aintree, taking the Betway Bowl in emphatic fashion with a well-judged ride from Ruby Walsh. Having been given a soft lead out in front, Walsh and Kemboy galloped his opposition - including Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai and King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux - into the ground and quickened clear in the straight to win by nine lengths.

Mullins’ two staying heavyweights would clash in the Irish season finale, the Punchestown Gold Cup. It would prove to be a poignant success for Ruby Walsh and Kemboy who was keen early on, having been challenged for the lead by Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red.

However, he saw off that threat and had enough left in the tank to see off Al Boum Photo and Paul Townend in what was a titanic tussle all the way up the Punchestown straight.

Ruby Walsh would wave to the Punchestown crowd as he crossed the finish line as a final goodbye, announcing his immediate retirement minutes after the race to RTE Sport and Racing TV.

Upcoming entries for Kemboy

Kemboy currently has no confirmed entries for the 2019/20 season but will likely take a familiar route towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which takes place on Friday March 13, 2020.

In the UK, he could be sent to the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and then on to the Grade 1 King George at Kempton on Boxing Day - the first two legs of the £1 million Stayers Triple Crown.

The Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown over 2m 4f is another option for seasonal reappearance in December, a race won in 2018 by stablemate Min. Other options on that side of the Irish Sea include the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase at Clonmel and the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over the festive period - both races won by Kemboy in 2018.

At The Winners Enclosure, we will have tips and best bets on all Graded races in the UK and Ireland in the days leading up to the race from our team of experts.

Kemboys trainer & Owner

Kemboy has been based at Closutton Stables, Co Carlow, home of Irish master trainer Willie Mullins, since moving from France in May 2016.

He has been ridden by four jockeys since moving to Ireland. Danny Mullins has ridden the horse three times at the Cheltenham Festival and was on board when winning the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December 2018. Paul Townend has ridden the horse to four victories, with his sole defeat on Kemboy coming behind stablemate Let’s Dance in January 2017.

As mentioned earlier, the recently-retired Ruby Walsh won on Kemboy at Aintree and Punchestown Festivals in 2019, with the latter his final ride and Grade 1 success before retirement.

Bryan Cooper took the reins in the 2018 Irish Grand National when falling at the first fence.

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