Mark Bradstock’s Carruthers outstayed his rivals to land a famous victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
The 10-1 shot, who is part-owned and was bred by Lord Oaksey, proved a popular victor as he held Planet Of Sound by three and three-quarter lengths in gutsy style.
Fair Along stayed on from a long way back to be third with Paddy Power winner Great Endeavour, who crept into it under a magnificent waiting ride from Timmy Murphy, eventually just running out of petrol in fourth.
Mattie Batchelor always had the eight-year-old Carruthers charge in the front rank, with favourite Aiteen Thirtythree another also keen to force the pace in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
Michel Le Bon and Planet Of Sound also appeared to be contenders for glory, while Great Endeavour threw down his challenge on the far side rail as he tried to become only the fourth horse to do the Paddy Power-Hennessy double.
Great Endeavour looked to have the measure of Carruthers two fences from home, but Batchelor’s mount was giving his all up the stands rail and held the verdict going to the last.
Carruthers sealed victory with a fine leap at the final obstacle, and Batchelor merely had to keep him up to the task on the run to the line. PA
3.15pm Big Buck’s collects the cash for the 13th time in a row
Tony Paley: Big Buck’s equalled the record set by Bula as won his 13th race in a row when winning the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury for the third successive year.
Sparky May looked like the most credible challenger at the top of the straight, despite taking a keen hold, and although she still appeared to be full of running, she had no answer to Big Buck’s at the business end.
Rider Ruby Walsh merely gave the signal and Big Buck’s coasted home by five lengths from stablemate Five Dream, who plugged on admirably.
Winning trainer Paul Nicholls said: “He had a gallop with Kauto Star after racing at Exeter the other day, and we’ve left plenty to work on as obviously we want him at his best in the spring. He pulls himself up and does just enough. If he does that he will last, as he is never going to do too much.
“He’s got more speed than the rest, he stays better than the rest and he’s just better than the rest, it’s as simple as that.”
Walsh said: “He’s just an incredible horse, he’s never out of second gear.
“He’s a good, safe jumper touch wood, and he goes on every ground. He’s just perfect.”
Winning owner Andy Stewart said: “I was more nervous today than I think I’ve ever been in my life, especially as I kept getting text messages from people saying ‘unlucky, it’s 13′ and things like that.
“It was lovely to see him do that and it’s great for racing. He will now go to Ascot for the Long Walk and then hopefully to Cheltenham for a fourth Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
“We’ve no intention to go chasing at the moment but after he finishes his season at Aintree, we will have a discussion but there are a lot of good chasers around at the moment.”
3.05pm Binocular team not disheartened by defeat
Tony Paley: Binocular’s connections were not too disheartened after seeing their runner lose to Overturn and be beaten as favourite in the Grade One Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle for the third successive year.
Owner JP McManus’s racing manager Frank Berry said: “He ran well. The other horse has had a run and was coming here fit. We were beaten by a better horse on the day but our lad jumped well and came there with every chance. We should come on a lot for the run and Kempton [Christmas Hurdle] is the plan.”
Tony McCoy, who rode Binocular, said: “He jumped well and travelled well, he was just a bit disappointing. He travelled and jumped, and I thought I had a squeak but getting close to the third-last, I thought was hanging on to not a lot really.
“I was wary of Jason’s horse and in the end he outbattled me and outstayed me. He’s become a little bit disappointing to be honest, but we’ll see what happens.”
Donald McCain’s charge had won the Coral Hurdle at Ascot last Saturday and turned out just seven days later to account for the 5-4 favourite n some style in the hands of Jason Maguire, who had travelled on from Bangor where he rode Peddlers Cross to victory.
Overturn (7-4) triumphed by four and a half lengths from Binocular with Celestial Halo third.
Overturn was completing a famous Newcastle double as he also won the Northumberland Plate on the Flat at Gosforth Park in 2010. Maguire said: “It’s brilliant, I just want to say a big thanks to Mr [Tim] Leslie [owner] for giving me the opportunity to ride both his good horses today.
“It’s worked out brilliantly, and you won’t get a tougher horse. The ground was a bit on the slow side for him, but he toughed it out. He’s due a break now.”
12.45pm Cross blows in at Bangor
Tony Paley: Novice chaser Peddlers Cross preserved his unbeaten record over fences with a smooth enough win at Bangor.
Donald McCain’s exciting prospect made it two wins from two starts when accounting for Grade One-winning hurdler Minella Class by eight lengths.
The winner jumped well in the main with only one scare when he reached for one when challenged by the runner-up four out.
Peddlers Cross was already the ante-post favourite for the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March before this stylish victory. He is now the 7-2 market leader with Paddy Power.
Racing UK reported that his trainer said he would go to Haydock on December 17 for another novice chase before going straight to the Festival.
Saturday’s TV races
Planet Of Sound (3.10) brings a touch of class to a below average line-up for the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury and must be worth a bet at double-figure odds. Having shaped with some promise on unsuitably tacky ground in Haydock’s Betfair Chase on his reappearance last season, he choked when well beaten in the King George and although his trainer, Philip Hobbs, believed that a subsequent wind operation had cured that problem, he never got the chance to be proved right when a leg injury forced Planet Of Sound on to the sidelines for the rest of the season.
This year’s Hennessy serves up more questions than most renewals of this race. Leading players such as Great Endeavour, Michel Le Bon and Wymott come into the contest with various uncertainties over their stamina, jumping and experience.
Planet Of Sound has never been tested over a trip as long as today’s, but we do know he goes best when fresh on good ground and on a flat track. Unbeaten in two starts as a novice chaser at Newbury, he has the cruising speed to be able to lie up with these rivals and the turn of foot to make the difference at the end.
Great Endeavour will be many punters’ idea of the likeliest winner after his recent victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but the worry is not just the additional test of stamina, but the admission from his trainer, David Pipe, that the tactics may have to be tweaked if he is to see out the extra distance. This horse’s best performances have come in response to a positive ride and an attempt to anchor him in the early stages could prove his undoing.
Beshabar makes more appeal. He jumps soundly and appreciates good ground and a thorough test. Those qualities alone should see him safely on to any shortlist.
Newbury 2.05 An effortless victory at this track on Thursday saw Empire Levant emerge as an interesting contender here, especially as he escapes a weight penalty with that contest having been restricted to conditional riders. If the quick reappearance does not prove too much then he will prove hard to beat, even against today’s much tougher opposition. First Fandango has done well this season but will surely find the drop back to two miles makes things too difficult off his revised rating.
Newcastle 2.20 Binocular proved too good for Overturn at Kempton in January and was only a little below his best when third at Punchestown on the final start of last season. However, he has proved vulnerable on his reappearance before, including when thrashed over track and trip in this race two years ago and this is the time to be with Overturn’s revenge mission. The selection was in the process of making Oscar Whisky pull out all of the stops until left clear at Ascot last week. He is still carrying his summer coat and will enjoy a well-earned break after this race, but it is understandable that his trainer, Donald McCain, wants to give him another bite of the cherry first.
Newbury 2.35 Barring accidents this should be a cakewalk for the indisputable champion of staying hurdlers Big Buck’s.
Newcastle 3.30 With five winners and a second from his last six runners, James Ewart’s stable is in fine form and Captain Americo caught the eye when making steady late gains to finish fourth at Carlisle last month. Off the same mark, he remains handicapped to win over fences.
Newbury 3.45 Despite racing too keenly for his own good, Persian Gates was still in front when colliding with Fistral Beach over the second-last fence and falling, leaving his rival clear in front at Wetherby last month. He meets that rival on 6lb better terms here and may be able to settle the score, especially if he settles better in this bigger field. Fistral Beach may be better fresh at any case. Crescent Island is interesting at a price. His latest run is best overlooked as a jumping mistake led to the saddle slipping badly, forcing Sam Twiston-Davies to pull his mount up.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls had Kauto Star fully revved up for last Saturday’s Betfair Chase and the champion trainer believes a similarly thorough preparation can pay dividends for his runners in today’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
Aiteen Thirtythree has long been held in some regard by Nicholls and his comeback behind Somersby at Kempton last month has brought him on considerably. But it is stablemate Michel Le Bon (3.10) who might have the edge. This horse has had three racecourse gallops – the same as Kauto Star – to get him wound up for his first start in almost two years.
There are obvious doubts as to whether he will ready for the rough and tumble of this contest on just his second public appearance over fences, but if he can get into a rhythm in the early stages of the contest Michel Le Bon should not be lacking for fitness despite the layoff.
Nicholls also has major chances elsewhere on the card with Prospect Wells (12.55), whose jumping is thankfully improving at home, and champion staying hurdler Big Buck’s (2.35).
Titan De Sarti (2.05) was something of a morning glory for Nicky Henderson last season but he has reportedly strengthened up well in the summer and could be worth another chance to belatedly fulfil his potential.
At Bangor, Quotica De Poyans (1.20) is a fascinating runner for Alan King having impressed in low-grade hunter chases last season when trained by permit-holder Simon Shirley-Beavan.
The assessor can only take a wild stab at the worth of that form and it is no surprise to see new connections keen to test an official rating of 126 by pitching him straight into handicap company.
Seen and heard
Time for change, it would appear, at Sir Michael Stoute’s yard after a disappointing season for the top Newmarket trainer. A complete steam clean was carried out at his Freemason Lodge stables earlier this month with the aim of removing any material that might have caused the low-level virus problems which led to the trainer’s lowest tally of winners since 1975. Now news reaches us that personnel changes are also under way at the yard with some of Stoute’s longest-serving staff having been laid off.
It could well be worth watching the runners from the Jersey trainer Joan Le Brocq over the coming weeks. A top trainer in the Channel Islands who enjoyed a good link-up with the jockey Jamie Goldstein during the summer, Le Brocq has taken over 10 boxes at Nigel Twiston-Davies’s stable in Gloucestershire in order to have runners here this winter over the jumps. Her horse Fine The World ran with promise at Folkestone the other week and is entered again at Hereford on Wednesday.
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