Trainer Willie Mullins has confirmed the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National are now realistic options for Thyestes Chase winner Invitation Only.
The Andrea & Graham Wylie-owned eight-year-old took advantage of the slow conditions at Gowran Park on Thursday to claim victory in the race that is considered the biggest on the calendar at the venue.
It is the seventh time that Mullins has tasted victory in the race and he feels his latest triumph has underlined Invitation Only’s qualities on the big stage, with a run in the Gold Cup or the Grand National now looking a distinct possibility.
“I’m delighted with that,” Mullins was quoted as saying by the Racing Post.
“To win a race like this off a big weight means he’s a fairly decent horse. The Gold Cup and the Grand National will be options for him.”
Invitation Only’s chances in those big races could depend on the availability of jockey Ruby Walsh, who saddled him to success on Thursday, his first competitive run aboard the gelding since 2017.
Reacting to Wednesday’s win, Walsh said: “Invitation Only travelled really well. He has plenty of pace and he stays. I was in control throughout and that’s a rare luxury in a Thyestes. He battled well when I needed him.”
Invitation Only is priced at 26.00 to win the Gold Cup and he does have previous experience of running at Cheltenham, although it was not a particularly positive one, as he was pulled up whilst going well in last year’s JLT Novices’ Chase.