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Unioniste Steps Up in December Gold Cup
15/12/12

1 Unioniste 15/2
2 Walkon 7/2F
3 Golden Chieftain 20/1
NR: De Boitron (FR), Divers (FR), Kingsmere, Wishfull Thinking
14 ran Distances: 11l, 6l, 21l
TIME 5m 47.09s (slow by 40.09s)

Unioniste created history by becoming the first four-year-old to win the Paul Stewart Ironspine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday December 15.

Unioniste
© Racehorse Photos

Unioniste

Owned by John Hales, the grey only got into the race as the first reserve, but the 15-2 chance took full advantage to give the owner and trainer Paul Nicholls a famous double after winning the Paddy Power with Al Ferof.

Young jockey Harry Derham bided his time and a big leap at the last sealed the deal as he won by 11 lengths, chased home by Alan King's Walkon, who once again had to settle for second after being beaten by Al Ferof.

Coming down the hill a fairytale result looked likely when Andy Stewart's Tatenen slipped the field, but a jolting mistake put paid to his chances.

Nicholls said: "It was a good little plan. I was pleased with his handicap mark and he knows how to jump. I thought he might not get a chance in a race like this again. Harry gave him a peach of a ride and it's great for him to win a race like this."

Referencing the much-publicised departure of Kauto Star from his yard, Nicholls went on: "After the week we've had, I can assure you I've never had a more embarrassing or unenjoyable week like that in my life.

"I apologise for everything that has gone on and I've never been more embarrassed, so to end it with a win like this is great. Onwards and upwards. I backed him last week at 12s, but I had to sweat a bit over whether he'd get in.

"He'll have a month off now. I've got novice chasing to go back to if I want and he'll have an entry for the RSA, but the big plan was today."

Derham, 18, added: "You've got Ruby (Walsh), Daryl (Jacob) and Ryan Mahon in the stable, so there's a pecking order and I was absolutely delighted to get the chance. The horse made my life very easy, he's very strong for a four-year-old and I always knew I had a bit left. It's a great honour to ride a big-race winner here for Mr Hales."

Unfortunately for Nicholls, his other runner Cristal Bonus broke down and it was later confirmed that he had suffered a fatal injury.

 

 

December Gold Cup (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3)
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 5f, Class 1
14 ran
Going: Heavy, Soft in places

Position
Horse
Trainer
Jockey
Weight
Starting Price
Beaten Distance
1
Unioniste
P F Nicholls
Harry Derham
10st 0lbs
15 - 2
Winner
2
Walkon
A King
R Thornton
10st 12lbs
7 - 2
11 lengths
3
Golden Chieftain
C L Tizzard
D Crosse
10st 2lbs
20 - 1
6 lengths
4
Tartak
Tim Vaughan
R Johnson
10st 9lbs
20 - 1
21 lengths
5
Micheal Flips
Andrew Turnell
James Banks
10st 6lbs
33 - 1
10 lengths
6
Tatenen
R Rowe
A Thornton
10st 11lbs
40 - 1
6 lengths
7
Astracad
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
10st 8lbs
10 - 1
Neck
8
Quantitativeeasing
N J Henderson
B J Geraghty
11st 3lbs
16 - 1
6 lengths
9
Renard
Miss V Williams
Aidan Coleman
10st 4lbs
20 - 1
18 lengths
PulledUp
Cristal Bonus
P F Nicholls
R Walsh
11st 7lbs
4 - 1
UnseatedRider
Nadiya De La Vega
N J Henderson
A P McCoy
10st 9lbs
8 - 1
PulledUp
Notus De La Tour
D Pipe
T Scudamore
10st 8lbs
11 - 2
PulledUp
Hell's Bay
K Burke
Gavin Sheehan
10st 0lbs
50 - 1
PulledUp
Have You Seen Me
N A Twiston-Davies
Adam Wedge
10st 0lbs
33 - 1
NonRunner
Wishfull Thinking
P J Hobbs
R Johnson
11st 12lbs
-
NonRunner
Divers
Ferdy Murphy
Non Runner
10st 2lbs
-
NonRunner
De Boitron
Ferdy Murphy
2nd Preference
10st 1lbs
-
NonRunner
Kingsmere
H D Daly
Non Runner
10st 1lbs
-
       

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