Bobs Worth showed his class with a convincing victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Last season’s RSA Chase hero gave trainer Nicky Henderson his second success in the race and owner/jockey Barry Geraghty his first.
Leading at the final fence in an incident-packed race, the 4-1 shot strode away to score from Tidal Bay, with gallant Irish raider First Lieutenant third and The Package fourth. Afterwards, Geraghty, who bought the horse as a yearling, said: “He’s not overly big and you can’t ask too much during the race. You just have to let him build and build. I was under the collar a lot of the way, but I knew going to the last I had plenty of horse.”
Earlier Big Buck’s had taken his winning run to 18 with an effortless victory in the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle. The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old, ridden by Ruby Walsh, was hardly out of a hack canter as he took this race for the fourth successive year.
Big Buck’s and his stablemate Five Dream made the running, with the two other runners, Fox Appeal and Reve De Sivola, just a few lengths adrift.
The order remained unchanged until after the third-last, where Five Dream began to struggle. Fox Appeal tried to make ground on the stands rail but Walsh was unmoved as he kept a tight hold of the 1-12 shot. Reve De Sivola ran on to take second place without ever threatening to trouble Andy Stewart’s unstoppable stayer.
Meanwhile, at Newcastle, Countrywide Flame captured the scalp of Cinders And Ashes in impressive fashion to land the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle. The two Cheltenham Festival winners had the race to themselves over the last two flights, and it was the Triumph Hurdle hero who came out on top.
Bothy held a narrow lead from Trifolium, with Countrywide Flame third and Cinders And Ashes last of the four runners through the early stages but Denis O’Regan always looked confident on the John Quinn-trained winner. The 11-4 chance pulled 12 lengths clear of 10-11 favourite Cinders And Ashes to stake an early claim for the Champion Hurdle.