Caspian Caviar Gold Cup
Handicap Chase, Cheltenham 13:50
Grade 3, £100,000 added,
4yo plus,
2m 4f 166y, Class 1  
Saturday 12th December 2015

1 Village Vic 8/1
2 Champagne West 8/1
3 Tenor Nivernais 10/1
NR: Irish Cavalier (IRE)
14 ran Distances: 4½l, 1l, 3¾l
TIME 5m 20.10s

Philip Hobbs saddles a one-two in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup as Village Vic beats Champagne West

Village Vic
© Racehorse Photos
Village Vic

Village Vic ran his rivals ragged as he made the most of his light weight with an all-the-way win in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Title-chasing jockey Richard Johnson's decision to ride the Philip Hobbs-trained eight-year-old instead of stablemate Champagne West paid off in style and it was the latter who gave him the most to do.

Village Vic (8-1) enjoyed himself in front and the handicap snip, carrying the feather weight of 10st, galloped on resolutely up the hill to beat Champagne West by four and a half lengths.

Tenor Nivernais was a length away third, with Buywise fourth.

Johnson said: "He's been a fantastic horse, we thought the world of him as a younger horse, but he had injuries and the owners have been very patient.

"He's just starting to show the ability we thought he had two or three years ago.

"This is the first time he's really stayed two and a half on a very stiff track, but I always felt like he was going to find a bit more."

He added: "I wouldn't do 10st too often these days, but I always thought he had a great chance and it's been well worth the while."

Hobbs said: "I could hardly predict they would be first and second.

"What was going through my mind after the first few fences was that they were going too quick, but he got it just right.

Champagne West
© Racehorse Photos

Champagne West
"Champagne West is a second-season novice and I'm hoping there is plenty of room for improvement. He had a nasty injury to his hock when he fell at Sandown last year which thankfully was no problem.

"For Village Vic this was D-Day. It was fantastic. He had a year off with injury, some time back and has come back well now.

"He had a minor tendon injury which he wouldn't have known much about. He wasn't lame or anything, so I don't think it was a big problem for him."

On immediate plans, he added: "With Champagne West the obvious thing is to come back here in January, there are two races, one at the start at the month and one at the end. We'll see how comes out of it. That's the obvious option for both of them."

On the slimming-down exercise by champion-elect Johnson, Hobbs said: "He does 10st a couple of times a year. Sometimes when he does that he's dehydrated and can't talk much afterwards. I think he might be able to talk today."

The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup
£100,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 166y, Class 1
14 ran
Going: Soft, Good to Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Village Vic (IRE) 8/1 R Johnson
10-0
P J Hobbs 8
2nd Champagne West (IRE) 8/1 T J O'Brien
11-0
P J Hobbs 7
3rd 1 Tenor Nivernais (FR) 10/1 Aidan Coleman
10-8
Miss V Williams 8
4th Buywise (IRE) 8/1 Adam Wedge
11-2
Evan Williams 8
5th 6 Sound Investment (IRE) 14/1 Sam Twiston-Davies
11-12
P F Nicholls 7
6th 8 Annacotty (IRE) 13/2f Ian Popham
11-2
A King 7
7th nk Art Mauresque (FR) 12/1 Nick Scholfield
10-11
P F Nicholls 5
8th s.h Doctor Phoenix (IRE) 14/1 D A Jacob
10-5
David Dennis 7
9th Johns Spirit (IRE) 12/1 N D Fehily
11-5
Jonjo O'Neill 8
10th Little Jon 8/1 Jamie Bargary (5)
10-7
N A Twiston-Davies 7
11th 21 Shantou Magic (IRE) 40/1 W Kennedy
10-1
C E Longsdon 8
12th Turn Over Sivola (FR) 25/1 Brendan Powell
10-1
A King 8
PU Texas Jack (IRE) 20/1 B J Geraghty
11-0
N Meade 9
PU Mozoltov 8/1 R Walsh
10-12
W P Mullins 9
NR Irish Cavalier (IRE) 7/1 P Townend
11-6
Miss R Curtis 6