Horse racing: By jove, Carruthers leaps to cup glory

Mark Bradstock’s Carruthers outstayed his rivals to land a famous victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

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 fine waiting ride from Timmy Murphy, eventually just running out of fuel in fourth.

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Mattie Batchelor always had the eight-year-old Carruthers 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 and sealed victory with a fine leap at the final obstacle.

An emotional Batchelor said: “I can’t speak. I lost my mum two years ago today.

“He’s a brilliant old horse. I schooled him the other morning and he was in the form of his life. He doesn’t know when to give up.”

Bradstock said: “It’s my biggest win by a long way. You’ve obviously got the King George and the Gold Cup, but the Hennessy is in the top six races you would want to win.

“We bought the mare just as a bit of fun for John Oaksey’s retirement and this is her first progeny. Horses like this are a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe the tongue-tie helped but he stays well and I’m so grateful for my wife who does all the work with him.”

Earlier Big Buck’s equalled a record set by Bula as he stretched his unbeaten run to 13 in landing the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle for the third successive year.

Sent off the 1-8 favourite, the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s travelled smoothly for Ruby Walsh, maintaining a watching brief before moving to the front with a circuit to go.

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Sparky May looked like the most credible challenger and, although she still appeared to be full of running, she had no answer to Big Buck’s at the business end. Big Buck’s coasted home by five lengths from stable-mate Five Dream.