- Cheltenham Festival, Day Four
Bobs Worth wins dramatic Gold Cup
Bobs Worth has won the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty, ahead of Sir Des Champs and 2011 winner Long Run.
With plenty of work to do at the final turn, Geraghty timed his run to the front perfectly on the 11/8 favourite, making a move on stable-mate Long Run and the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs before the final fence and staying on to win by seven lengths.
Long Run, who had led from the start of the race, could not hold on for second under Sam Waley-Cohen and was beaten to the post by the Irish-trained Sir Des Champs and replacement jockey AP McCoy.
With Silviniaco Conti unluckily falling three out, Geraghty's task became harder when having to sidestep the Paul Nicholls-trained horse.
But Bobs Worth, who won the Hennessy in his only other start of the season, justified his favourite's price with his fifth unbeaten Festival run as constant rain issued testing conditions and a going-change to soft ground.
Last year's runner-up The Giant Bolster held on to finish fourth after a battling performance.
Cape Tribulation finished fifth ahead of Captain Chris, who jumped right throughout.
Wayward Prince crossed the line in seventh for owner-trainer Hilary Parrott, whilst the Michael Scudamore-trained Monbeg Dude was pulled up two out by Sam Twiston-Davies.
The victory gave trainer Henderson, who was visibly in tears at the post, his 50th Cheltenham Festival winner.
"It's all a bit of a blur. You have to gather your thoughts. We've been at it a good few years," Henderson said.
"Both horses were fantastic and everybody has done a hell of a job."
Winning jockey Geraghty was quick to praise his ride, although he admitted his thoughts were with injured amateur jockey JT McNamara.
"I'd love to be happier. All we can think about is John Thomas McNamara," Geraghty said.
"We just hope and pray to God he's OK. This is a brilliant horse, he is a gorgeous horse and he has a great attitude. He never travelled, he struggled on that ground, but he kept fighting.
"I knew three out I had five or six lengths to find, but I thought I had a good chance. He's as game as a lion and he loves the job."
Dual bumper winner At Fishers Cross gave a scintillating performance to land the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle for trainer Rebecca Curtis and owner JP McManus, also giving champion jockey AP McCoy his first winning ride at this year's Festival. The 11/8 favourite cantered comfortably around the course before surging ahead of second favourite African Gold following a commanding leap over the last to make it five wins from five starts for the six-year-old.
In the opening race of the day, Our Conor cruised to a 15-length victory to claim the JCB Triumph Hurdle for trainer Dessie Hughes. The four-year-old juvenile made it four wins from four over jumps, storming to an emphatic win under the stewardship of Bryan Cooper and leaving the Paul Nicholls-trained Far West trailing in its wake. As a result, Our Conor has been made 5/1 joint favourite, along with Tuesday's winner Hurricane Fly, for next year's Champion Hurdle.
Cooper ensured a dominant start to the afternoon for the Irish, steering 10/1 shot Ted Veale to victory in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle, giving Tony Martin his second winner of the Festival. With the long run up Prestbury Park hill to the last, Cooper edged the six-year-old ahead of the Willie Mullins-trained Tennis Cap and managed to hold by one-and-a-half lengths for an early afternoon double.
The CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup provided the most dramatic finish of this year's Festival when the James Mangan-trained Oscar Delta, who led after the last and looked good for the win, hung left into the rope on the far side and ejected jockey Jane Mangan (daughter of trainer Jimmy) inside the final furlong. In the cruellest of blows, the blunder gifted victory and made it back-to-back Foxhunter wins for the Rodger Sweeney-trained Salisfy. Divine Intavention, twenty lengths behind, took second by a neck from Cottage Oak.
Salubrious salvaged a disappointing week for Paul Nicholls by winning the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle and giving the trainer his first win of the 2013 Festival in the penultimate race. Jockey Harry Dernham cruised to a seven-length victory ahead of the Venetia Williams-trained Nagpur, who stayed on for second a length ahead of Double Ross. Make Your Mark finished fourth for the Willie Mullins stable.
AP McCoy enjoyed a winning end to the 2013 Festival after he saddled 3/1 favourite Alderwood to victory in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup for trainer Tom Mullins and owner JP McManus. It capped a superb Festival for the Irish trainers, who took 14 wins from the Festival; one more than their British counterparts. Nicky Henderson, who trained last year's winner Bellvano, had to settle for second with Kid Cassidy, whilst 2011 winner Oiseau de Nuit finished third ahead of Drumshambo.