Sunday, 19 November 2017

November Meeting: Ginge Splashes to Gold Cup glory on drenched day at Cheltenham

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Nigel Twiston-Davies' Splash Of Ginge ran out a shock 25-1 winner of Cheltenham's feature BetVictor Gold Cup under a confident ride from young Tom Bellamy.

On only the nine-year-old's second victory over fences, he travelled towards the front for most of the race before making his move three out from home, he forged two length clear before holding on from the fast finishing runner-up Starchitect.

The popular handicapper formelly won the Betfair Hurdle and a Grade Three prize at this venue on the New Year's Day meeting in 2015, and his followers, 'Ginge Army', are now hoping to take him to the Grand National.

"He's got a big following this horse and he's been remarkable for us," said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.

"He just lost his confidence over fences a bit so we put him back over hurdles and he's come back this season like a bull.

"He ran well at Wetherby, but as soon as the rain came, the soft ground is the key to him. I thought Foxtail Hill might do the job, but he couldn't cope with the ground.

"We'll certainly be back in December and we may think again about the Grand National, John is a Liverpudlian after all.

"The idea was, because of John's connections with Liverpool, to ready him for the National at one point and we may revisit that idea. We're always thinking and John has had a bet to win a million if he does win the National so he's obviously keen!"

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Fergal O'Brien enjoyed a winner on the card with Perfect Candidate enjoying a narrow win

Le Prezien finished third whilst Ballyalton took fourth spot. Favourite Kylemore Lough was pulled-up in the handicap.

Nicky Henderson's Apple's Shakira ran out the most impressive winner of the day. The Triumph Hurdle-bound three-year-old destroyed a quality Grade Two field by seventeen lengths and is as short at 9-2 for next year's Festival.

Black Corton got the better of Ballyoptic to extend his winning run to six for Paul Nicholls and Byrony Frost, whilst Posh Trish completed a double for the Ditcheat master in the closing race of the day.

Perfect Candidate won narrowly ahead of Vincente, as former Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco finished unplaced.

Thomas Campbell and Coole Cody also won on the Saturday card.

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