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L’Antartique Powers Home For Gold

17/11/07

1st (5) L'Antartique 13-2
2nd (7) Il Duce 33-1
3rd (3) Knowhere 10-1
4th (14) Palarshan 25-1
20 ran
Also: 3-1 Fav Granit Jack

The Ferdy Murphy-trained L’Antartique showed all his stamina to win the highlight of The Open, the £120,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup by a neck from Il Duce.

L’Antartique

L’Antartique
A 13/2 chance, L’Antartique came from off the pace to overhaul Il Duce on the run-in and showed determination to hold off a renewed challenge from the same rival close home.

This was a second Cheltenham victory for L’Antartique, following his win the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival in March, 2007.

Ferdy Murphy said: “The plan has worked out and it was a great run with a great man on top (Graham Lee). Everything has gone really well.

“He was a bit more forward than we thought when he won his on his prep run at Carlisle, but we were pleasantly surprised.

“He got a 3lb penalty for that win, and I thought if we just got beat today than it may be because of that.

“At the top of the hill, I thought he had just got trapped but Graham kept his cool and the gaps appeared for him. He rode a very cool race.

“I think we will now step him up in class and go for the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.

“He wants three miles now - his pedigree is screaming out for a trip. Cheltenham really suits him well. I’m not sure Leopardstown will suit him as well as here, but we need to see how he copes with a step up in class.

“He was a good horse before I got him. He won his first two bumpers when he was with Tony Mullins but he didn’t really take to hurdles and his jumping was not great. It took a long time to get him jumping well.”

Murphy was keen to pay tribute to L’Antartique’s lad Takashi Iiyama, who hails from Japan.

The North Yorkshire-based handler continued: “I would like to pay tribute to his lad Takashi Iiyama, who has done so much with this horse and helped to get him jumping.

“He found out about the yard through our internet site and got in contact with us.

“It took a hell of a long time to get his work permit sorted out with all the red tape but he has done so much with L’Antartique.”

Graham Lee, the winning jockey on L’Antartique in today’s feature, the £120,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup, said: “ He’s a proper horse. They went very quick and he jumped superb - the best he has ever jumped.

“Like the boss said to me before the Jewson last season “just tough it out”. At the top of the hill, I was a long way back but I wasn’t really concerned because he started to free wheel.

“I switched him out to give him a bit of light and I switched him in again two out. When he changed leads, he just took off and I got there too soon again!

“He gave me a good ride. I got stuck once or twice but when you are going that pace it probably does you a favour because you get to fill up.

“He is a good horse - he has natural ability - a lot of it.

“I just want to say that I have had a great day but my thoughts are with Ruby (Walsh) who has had an absolute mother and father of a fall - I hope he is OK.”

Lee, who won at The Festival on L’Antartique in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase, was celebrating his second winner at The Open 2007, having partnered Glasker Mill to score in Friday’s paddypower.com Graduation Chase.

IL DUCE SO GAME IN DEFEAT

Trainer Alan King was thrilled with seven-year-old Il Duce after the 33-1 outsider ran a fine race to finish the neck second to L’Antartique in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Il Duce led in the straight, but was passed by the winner approaching the last. Despite rallying to hold off third-placed Knowhere, King’s horse could not quite find enough to land the main prize.

The second and third will now head for different targets - Il Duce will be aimed for the boylesports.com Handicap Chase at Cheltenham’s Boylesports International meeting in mid December, while Knowhere will head for Newbury’s Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.

King said of Il Duce: “He hasn’t run like a 33-1 shot. I couldn’t be more pleased with the horse. He jumped well, travelled well and did everything right bar beat Ferdy’s horse. He’ll come back here in December all being well.

“I’ve trained various members of his family, including The Big Canadian who was a half-brother, and I’ve got Il Duce’s unraced three-year-old full brother at home. He won’t be out until the spring, but he is very nice.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of Knowhere, said: “I’m very pleased considering he was giving weight to the first and second. It looks like the Hennessy next if he comes out of this all right. It may come too soon, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“He couldn’t quite get to them, but he was flying at the end. That seems to be the proof that he needs further.”

WILLYANWOODY & GRANIT JACK

Willyanwoody in the Club 16-24 Novices’ Chase and Granit Jack in the Paddy Power Gold Cup had fatal falls. They both died instantly.

 

NICHOLLS REFLECTS

Trainer Paul Nicholls, who saw Paddy Power Gold Cup favourite Granit Jack take a fatal fall in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, reflected on his day.

The champion trainer said: “What can you say?

“It just shows that the line between success and failure is so small.

“I think we were just damned unlucky. The horse was travelling so well and took a very similar fall to that of Twist Magic in the Arkle last season.

“We couldn’t have done things any differently. Liam (Heard) couldn’t have done anything differently. Obviously, he came in late for the ride but did everything right.

“We put our head on the block today by saying Granit Jack was well-handicapped - which he was - and no stone was left unturned.

“He schooled last weekend and was fit and well. Horses like him don’t come along very often.

“You can’t blame anybody.”

 

PADDY POWER GOLD CUP CHASE (GRADE THREE)
£120,000 guaranteed, 2m 4 1/2f Old Course, For 4yo+ Minimum Weight 10st Penalties after November 3, a winner of a Class 3 chase 3lb; of a Class 1 or 2 chase 6lb (no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb) Billyvoddan’s Handicap Mark 159 Entries 62 pay £150 Confirmed 38 pay £350 Penalty Value 1st £68,424; 2nd £25,668; 3rd £12,852; 4th £6,408; 5th £3,216; 6th £1,608

1 L'ANTARTIQUE (FR) (Mrs A Durkan) Ferdy Murphy 7-10-13 Graham Lee 13/2
2 IL DUCE (IRE) (Mrs Peter Prowting) Alan King 7-10-10b Robert Thornton 33/1
3 KNOWHERE (IRE) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 9-11-04 Paddy Brennan 10/1
4 PALARSHAN (FR) (Sumner Wellesley) Henry Daly 9-10-05p Mark Bradburne 25/1
5 PATMAN DU CHARMIL (FR) (Raymond Mould) Nigel Twiston-Davies 5-9-11b David England (5)
6 BOB HALL (IRE) (JP McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 6-10-10t Tony McCoy
7 COPSALE LAD (Swallow Partnership) Nicky Henderson 10-10-06 Mick Fitzgerald
8 CROZAN (FR) (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 7-11-03b Barry Geraghty
9 BAMBI DE L'ORME (FR) (Mr & Mrs John Poynton) Ian Williams 7-10-07 Dominic Elsworth
10 BALLYAGRAN (IRE) (Exors of the Late Kevin O’Sullivan) Noel Meade IRE 7-10-03 Paul Carberry
11 PRIVATE BE (David & Daphne Walsh) Philip Hobbs 8-10-06 Richard Johnson
12 THREE MIRRORS (Sean Murphy) Ferdy Murphy 7-10-02 Keith Mercer
13 PONMEOATH (IRE) (Jolly Up Syndicate) Eric McNamara 7-10-08 Paddy Flood
14 BLACK HILLS (The Kingfisher Partnership) Jonathan Geake 8-10-04tp Jimmy McCarthy
15 VODKA BLEU (FR) (David Johnson) David Pipe 8-10-02p Timmy Murphy
F 2 out GRANIT JACK (FR) (John Hales) Paul Nicholls 5-10-01t ow1 Liam Heard 3/1f
P IDOLE FIRST (IRE) (D & J Racing Ltd) Venetia Williams 8-10-12 Alan O'Keeffe
P TOO FORWARD (IRE) (T Gibson & D Mathias) Carl Llewellyn 11-11-06 Philip Carberry
P BILLYVODDAN (IRE) (Trevor Hemmings) Henry Daly 8-11-12v1 Seamus Durack
P KINGS BROOK (Tony Gale) Nick Williams 7-10-09 Paul Moloney

20 ran
Distances: nk, 1 3/4, 3/4, 3, 5, 8, 1/2, 12, nk, 1/2, 3/4, 8, 18, 24
Breeding: b g Cyborg (FR) - Moomaw (Akarad (FR))
Breeder: T Picard & Phillipe de Maeseneire
Totes: Wins: £7.50 Places: £2.60; £5.40; £2.40; £5.00 Exacta: £246.30

Winning Trainer: FERDY MURPHY Trains at West Witton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire Riding career: Professional 1966-82; rode about 100 winners Date of first licence: 1990 Cheltenham Festival Wins (7): Walwyn Muir (1996 Stop The Waller, 2006 You’re Special), Elite Triumph Hurdle (1996 Paddy’s Return), Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle (1998 French Holly), National Hunt Chase (2006 Hot Weld), William Hill Trophy (2007 Joe’s Edge), Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (2007 L’Antartique) Aintree Festival Wins include: John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase (2001 Ballinclay King), John Smith’s Novices’ Handicap Chase (2005 Joes Edge), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2007 Aces Four) Other major wins: Paddy Power Gold Cup (2007 L’Antartique), Betfred Gold Cup (2007 Hot Weld), Scottish National (2007 Hot Weld) Ballymore Properties Champion Stayers Hurdle (2005 Carlys Quest), Christmas Hurdle (1998 French Holly), Hennessy Gold Cup (1992 Sibton Abbey), Long Walk Hurdle (1997 Paddy’s Return), Prix La Barka (1999 French Holly), Rowland Meyrick Chase (2004 Truckers Tavern, 2006 Leading Man), Sporting Index Chase (2001 Paddy’s Return), Scottish Grand National (2000 Paris Pike, 2005 Joes Edge), Tolworth Hurdle (1998 French Holly), Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase (2007 Another Promise) Number of Winners (1997/98-2005/06): 27; 40; 34; 41; 68; 43; 31; 55; 45; 61 Wins this Season: 9

Winning Jockey: Graham Lee Born: December 16, 1975 Background: Irish pony-racing circuit, left school at 15 to join handler Noel Meade. Five rides for Meade then joined Dessie McDonogh in County Meath. Ger Lyons then obtained Lee a position with Mary Reveley when he was 17. Began riding out for Bill Haigh, before joining Malcolm Jefferson. He was stable jockey for Howard Johnson between 2003-2006, and now rides predominately for trainer Ferdy Murphy. Trains with Middlesbrough football club to keep fit. First Winner: Navan, November 7, 1992, Blushing Pearl Cheltenham Festival Wins (4): Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Arcalis), Royal & Sunalliance Novices’ Hurdle (2005 No Refuge), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2005 Inglis Drever), Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase (2007 L’Antartique) Leading Rider at The Festival: 2005 (3). Big Race Wins: Paddy Power Gold Cup (2007 L’Antartique), Betfred Gold Cup (2007 Hot Weld) Ascot Hurdle (2005 No Refuge); Ballymore Properties Long Distance Hurdle (2005 Inglis Drever), Charlie Hall Chase (2003 Ballybough Rasher; 2004 Grey Abbey); Elite Hurdle (2005 Royal Shakespeare); Finesse Juvenile Hurdle (2005 Akilak); John Smith’s West Yorkshire Hurdle (2003 Gralmano, 2005 Inglis Drever) Leamington Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Inglis Drever, 2005 No Refuge); Peterborough Chase (2006 Racing Demon), Peter Marsh Chase (2005 Lord Transcend); Pillar Propery Chase (2005 Grey Abbey); Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (2004 Royal Rosa); Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase (2006 LeadingMan); Scottish Grand National (2004 Grey Abbey); Stanleybet Handicap Hurdle (2005 Coat Of Honour); Tote Exacta Premier Kelso Hurdle (2003 Covent Garden), totesport Classic Chase (2004 Southern Star); Towton Novices’ Chase (2007 Heltornic); Winter Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Inglis Drever); Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase (2007 Another Promise) Aintree Festival Wins: John Smith’s Beefeater Restaurants Handicap Hurdle (2004 Zibeline), John Smith’s Grand National (2004 Amberleigh House), Betfair Bowl (2005 Grey Abbey), John Smith’s Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2007 Aces Four) Number of Wins (1993/94-2006/07): 6; 20; 11; 16; 21; 24; 28; 25; 58; 66; 94; 100; 108; 89; Wins This Season: 45

 

PADDY POWER GOLD CUP HISTORY

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a great race with an illustrious history. The 2m 4.5f contest was first run in 1960 and the race has seen many well-known chasers in action.

Our Vic provided Martin Pipe with his eighth Paddy Power Gold Cup success in 2006 when the seven-year-old, partnered by Timmy Murphy, came home two and a half lengths clear of Monkerhostin.

Martin Pipe’s superb record had previously seen him win the Paddy Power Gold Cup with Beau Ranger (1987),
Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998 & 2002), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001) and Celestial Gold (2004).

Pipe handed over the reins to his son David at the end of the 2005/2006 season and the rookie trainer almost continued the winning tradition in 2006 when Vodka Bleu finished three lengths second to the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Exotic Dancer, who came from last to first under Tony McCoy.

In 2002 the Pipe-trained Cyfor Malta, a horse whose racing career had been dogged by injury problems, stormed back to the form he had shown in his younger days with a second win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup - four years after his initial success in the first big handicap chase of the season.

This made him the fifth horse to win the race twice, following Fortria (1960 and 1962), Gay Trip (1969 and 1971), Half Free (1984 and 1985) and Bradbury Star (1993 and 1994).

Shooting Light was brilliantly ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy to defeat 13 talented chasers in 2001.

Lady Cricket was impressive when scoring by 10 lengths from stable companion Exit Swinger in 2000, with another five lengths back to the third in a 15-strong field. The enigmatic Challenger Du Luc scored a cheeky head success over Strong Promise in 1996 while in 1987 Beau Ranger came home 15 lengths in front under Mark Perrett.

One of the best performances since the inaugural running came in 1965 from Dunkirk, who carried a massive 12st 7lb to victory and there have been plenty of other memorable renewals.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been won by Irish-trained horses on four occasions. Fortria took the initial running and was successful for a second time two years later in 1962.

The Irish had to wait for more than a decade for a further winner, which came in the shape of Skymas in 1973, and Bright Highway was the last successful horse from the Emerald Isle in 1980, when winning by seven lengths.

Gay Trip's two victories formed part of Fred Rimell's extraordinary training feat when he sent out the winner four years in a row. Jupiter Boy in 1968 and Chatham in 1970 completed Rimell's quartet. Gay Trip won the Grand National in 1970, in between his Cheltenham successes

Celestial Gold proved his stamina with a subsequent one and a half length victory over Ollie Magern in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, which saw him become the fourth horse, along with Red Candle (1972), Bachelor's Hall (1977) and Bright Highway (1980), to add the Newbury prize to his Cheltenham victory.

Two and a half mile specialists like the dual-winner Half Free, handled by Fred Winter who trained three winners of the race, and Dublin Flyer (1995) have triumphed, while Skymas (1973) won the Queen Mother Champion Chase twice.

Tony McCoy is the most successful jockey in the history of the Paddy Power Gold Cup with four victories. The record-breaking rider triumphed on Cyfor Malta in 1998 and followed up two years later aboard Lady Cricket. He went on to secure a third success in 2001 on Shooting Light and added a fourth aboard Exotic Dancer last year.

Richard Linley and Richard Dunwoody who both achieved three victories in the race during their riding careers, are the next most successful jockeys in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Linley was victorious on Fifty Dollars More in 1982 and Half Free in 1984 and 1985, while Dunwoody gained his wins on Very Promising in 1986, Another Coral in 1991 and Challenger Du Luc in 1996.

The popularity of Cheltenham's Open Meeting increases each year with the Irish. One of the great strengths of the three days is the relationship which draws Irish-trained horses and racegoers. Last year there were 38 Irish runners over the three days, including five winners.

But an Irish winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup has not come along for some time. The most recent one was Bright Highway back in 1980. In the 1990s Toranfield (1991) and Second Schedual (1994) came second, and Anabatic was fourth in 1996, while Feathered Leader finished third in 2000.

 

THE PADDY POWER GOLD CUP CHASE

(Grade 3 Handicap) (2m 4f 110yds), £120,000 total prize fund, Saturday, November 17, 2007

Year Name Age/Wgt Jockey Trainer Owner Ran SP
2006 EXOTIC DANCER 6-11-02 Tony McCoy Jonjo O’Neill Sir Robert Ogden 16 16/1
2005 OUR VIC 7-11-07 Timmy Murphy Martin Pipe David Johnson 18 9-2F
2004 CELESTIAL GOLD 6-10-02 Timmy Murphy Martin Pipe David Johnson 14 12-1
2003 FONDMORT 7-10-13 Mick Fitzgerald Nicky Henderson Bill Brown 9 3-1F
2002 CYFOR MALTA 9-11-09 Barry Geraghty Martin Pipe David Johnson 15 16-1
2001 SHOOTING LIGHT 8-11-03 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe John Brown/Michael Blackburn 14 9-4F
2000 LADY CRICKET 6-10-13 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe David Johnson 15 5-1F
1999 THE OUTBACK WAY 9-10-00 Norman Williamson Venetia Williams Seasons Holidays 14 9-1
1998 CYFOR MALTA 5-11-03 Tony McCoy Martin Pipe David Johnson 12 3-1F
1997 SENOR EL BETRUTTI 8-10-00 Jamie Osborne Susan Nock Gerard Nock 9 33-1
1996 CHALLENGER DU LUC 6-10-02 Richard Dunwoody Martin Pipe David Johnson 12 7-1
1995 DUBLIN FLYER 9-11-08 Brendan Powell Tim Forster John Sumner 12 4-1JF
1994 BRADBURY STAR 9-11-11 Philip Hide Josh Gifford J Campbell 14 5-1
1993 BRADBURY STAR 8-11-08 Declan Murphy Josh Gifford J Campbell 15 13-2
1992 TIPPING TIM 7-10-10 Carl Llewellyn Nigel Twiston-Davies Jenny Mould 16 11-2F
1991 ANOTHER CORAL 8-10-01 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Michael Deeley 15 15-2
1990 MULTUM IN PARVO 7-10-02 Norman Williamson John Edwards Alan Parker 13 12-1
1989 JOINT SOVEREIGNTY 9-10-04 Graham McCourt Philip Hobbs G J Giddy 15 10-1
1988 PEGWELL BAY 7-11-02 Peter Scudamore Tim Forster A K Barlow 13 6-1
1987 BEAU RANGER 9-10-02 Mark Perrett Martin Pipe White Bros Ltd 14 13-2
1986 VERY PROMISING 8-11-13 Richard Dunwoody David Nicholson Paul & Jenny Green 11 7-1
1985 HALF FREE 9-11-10 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 10 9-2
1984 HALF FREE 8-11-10 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 10 5-2F
1983 POUNENTES 6-10-06 Neale Doughty Billy McGhie Billy McGhie 9 7-1
1982 FIFTY DOLLARS MORE 7-11-00 Richard Linley Fred Winter Ali Abu Khamsin 11 11-1
1981 HENRY KISSINGER 7-10-13 Paul Barton David Gandolfo J J Mansworth 11 5-1
1980 BRIGHT HIGHWAY 6-11-01 Gerry Newman Michael O’Brien IRE George Strawbridge 15 5-1F
1979 MAN ALIVE 8-10-09 Ron Barry Gordon Richards J Ennis 11 6-1
1978 BAWNOGUES 7-10-07 Craig Smith Martin Tate Mrs H Lawler 11 5-1
1977 BACHELOR’S HALL 7-10-06 Martin O’Halloran Peter Cundell Peter & Karyl Harris 16 11-2F
+1976 CANCELLO 7-11-01 Dennis Atkins Neville Crump W V Burdon 13 4-1
1975 CLEAR CUT 11-10-09 David Greaves Maurice Camacho J W Hemingway 13 13-2
1974 BRUSLEE 8-10-07 Andy Turnell Michael Scudamore Mrs D Rees-Davies 11 2-1F
1973 SKYMAS 8-10-05 Stan Murphy Brian Lusk IRE Matt Magee 15 7-1
1972 RED CANDLE 8-10-00 Jimmy Fox Ricky Vallance Mrs C O’Shea 11 20-1
1971 GAY TRIP 9-11-03 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell A J Chambers 10 8-1
1970 CHATHAM 6-10-03 Ken White Fred Rimell C Knott 17 33-1
1969 GAY TRIP 7-11-05 Terry Biddlecombe Fred Rimell A J Chambers 14 8-1
1968 JUPITER BOY 7-10-03 Eddie Harty Fred Rimell J E Liley 13 9-1
1967 CHARLIE WORCESTER 10-10-11 Josh Gifford Ryan Price Dorothy Price 13 7-1
1966 PAWNBROKER 8-11-09 Paddy Broderick Arthur Stephenson E W Cliff-McCulloch 5 7-2
1965 DUNKIRK 8-12-07 Bill Rees Peter Cazalet Bill Whitbread 8 11-10F
1964 SUPER FLASH 9-10-05 Stan Mellor Frank Cundell A H Wood 9 8-1
1963 RICHARD OF BORDEAUX 8-10-05 Bobby Beasley Fulke Walwyn J Schilizzi 20 20-1
1962 FORTRIA 10-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE G Ansley 25 5-1F
1961 SCOTTISH MEMORIES 7-10-12 C Finnegan Arthur Thomas G B Sanderson 17 9-2
1960 FORTRIA 8-12-00 Pat Taaffe Tom Dreaper IRE G Ansley 19 8-1
+ Held at Haydock Park

 

FACTS ABOUT PADDY POWER GOLD CUP AND THE OPEN

This year sees the 48th renewal of the first major contest of the National Hunt season, the Paddy Power Gold Cup. The race, run under its present title for the first time in 2003, was known as the Thomas Pink Gold Cup from 2000-2002 while Whitbread, under their Mackeson brand and then subsequently Murphys, backed the first 40 runnings.
****
Since the inaugural running in 1960, the contest has been won by Irish-trained horses on four occasions. Fortria won the first running and was successful for a second time two years later in 1962. The Irish had to wait for more than a decade for a further winner which came in the shape of Skymas in 1973, and Bright Highway was the last successful horse from the Emerald Isle in 1980.

****
Over the three days of The Open last season, there were five Irish-trained winners from 38 runners including Spot Thedifference who won the Cross Country Chase for the third successive year.

****
Five horses have won the Paddy Power Gold Cup twice. Fortria was the first, then Gay Trip completed the double in 1969 and 1971, with his victory in the 1970 Grand National sandwiched in between. Half Free was successful in 1984 and the following year, while Bradbury Star achieved this magnificent feat for Findon-based handler Josh Gifford in 1993 and 1994. Cyfor Malta, the 1998 winner, triumphed four years later in 2002.

****
Martin Pipe, now retired, has been the leading trainer in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, having saddled an amazing eight winners - Beau Ranger (1987), Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998 & 2002), Lady Cricket (2000) , Shooting Light (2001), Celestial Gold (2004) and Our Vic (2005). No current trainer has landed the prize more than once.

****
Despite the competitiveness of the Paddy Power Gold Cup, it is not a race for outsiders. 31 of the 47 runnings of the contest have been won by horses returned at odds of 15/2 or less. However, the overall record of favourites is not that great, with only 13 having been successful during the history of the race, though four of the last seven runnings have gone to the market leaders, with the latest being Our Vic in 2006. The shortest-priced winner in the history of this prestigious contest was Dunkirk who went off the 11/10 favourite in 1965, while the two longest-priced horses were Chatham (1970) and Senor El Betrutti (1997), both returned at 33/1.

****
Perhaps the greatest performance in the history of the contest was achieved by Dunkirk. The Domaha gelding carried a staggering 12st 7lb to victory when he gained his 1965 success.

****
The incomparable Arkle made his British racecourse bow in the Honeybourne Chase on the Saturday of The Open meeting 45 years ago. It was a fantastic day for Arkle’s trainer and jockey, Tom Dreaper and Pat Taaffe, who, following Arkle’s impressive destruction of the opposition by 20 lengths, went on to land what is now the Paddy Power Gold Cup with Fortria.
****
Best Mate, the latest horse to win three totesport Cheltenham Gold Cups, won the second chase of his career at The Open 2000, while the 2003 Smurfit Champion Hurdle victor Rooster Booster defied top weight to win the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle in 2002. The 2001 Greatwood Hurdle winner Westender was second to Rooster Booster in the 2003 Smurfit Champion Hurdle.

****
The Open has only once been held at an alternative venue to Prestbury Park. In 1976 a new drainage system was being installed at Cheltenham, so the then two-day meeting was switched to Haydock Park where Cancello became the only horse to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup anywhere but Cheltenham.

****
Josh Gifford is the only man to have both ridden and trained a winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup, partnering Charlie Worcester to victory in 1967 and training Bradbury Star for his successes in 1993 and 1994.

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