The Irish Hennessy Gold Cup is a Grade One race run at Leopardstown over three miles for horses aged five years or older and is widely regarded as a trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
Established in 1987, the Irish Hennessy has grown in stature considerably and has become one of the leading races on the Irish national hunt calendar and has helped unearth some absolute superstars.
The first one to cement his place in Irish Hennessy history was Peter Beaumont's Jodami, who not only secured victory in the 1993 Irish Hennessy, but then went over to the Cheltenham Festival and bagged Cheltenham Gold Cup glory by two lengths. Beaumont's stable star then returned to Leopardstown the following year and retained his title before bagging the hat-trick of wins in 1995.
It wasn't long before a horse emulated Jodami's Irish Hennessy/Gold Cup double as in 1996 Fergie Sutherland's Imperial Call stormed to success in Ireland before bagging Gold Cup glory a month later.
The aforementioned duo became equine heroes for their Gold Cup exploits, but there is one name that will forever be synonymous with the Irish Hennessy and that is the Willie Mullins-trained Florida Pearl.
After winning the Champion Bumper and the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festval, Mullins' stable star then became a revelation in his native country bagging four Irish Hennessy crowns. After notching a trio of wins between 1999 and 2001, most people believed that would be the end, but as a 12-year-old Florida Pearl returned to Leopardstown to win an unprecedented fourth title.