Somersby Claims Haldon Gold Cup
1 Somersby 9/2
The Mick Channon-trained Somersby grimly held on from Module in a thrilling finish to Exeter's BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup in which last year's winner Cue Card was third.
Sent off a well-backed 9-2 chance (from 7-1), Somersby travelled supremely well for Dominic Elsworth and was in front at the third-last. The weight began to tell on Cue Card by that stage, but Module was a persistent threat in the straight, for which he deserves great credit after an early mistake.
William's Wishes was pushed into the lead going down the back but was one of the first beaten. Once in front Somersby possibly thought he had completed the job two out and Module jumped level, but another big leap at the last sealed the race for Channon's nine-year-old.
Tom George's Module tried to come back at him but the line came just too soon and he went down by a head.
A delighted Mick Channon said: " I'm pleased, the horse is in good form this year, the horse had a terrible splint in his near fore last year but it's nice that this fellow has made a sensible start."
"Last year was a bad year with him but I'm pleased he's come back to what he was.
"Dominic said he was infront long enough but he didn't have any choice."
Fourth in the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, the six-year-old took his game to another level when going down by just a head to Somersby in the Grade Two over just shy of two and a quarter miles.
George said: "I think it's the first time we've had him that he's come out of a race as fresh as paint. Last season you could always tell he'd had a race the day after, but he's really well in himself."
He went on: "He's strengthened up a lot over the summer. He is still a very babyish sort of horse.
"He got badly hampered down the back and that has cost him the whole thing. Jumping is the name of the game, but that wasn't his fault as the horse in front of him slipped.
"He saw the crowd coming to the last and jumped it a bit big and in another stride he'd have got up, so we're thrilled with him.
"He's going to be a stayer, so it's great he's able to be competitive over two and a quarter miles. We think he's going to be a three-miler in due course, but those top horses have that pace to run well over shorter distances.
"We'll probably run him over two and a half miles next time and he's not the sort of horse you'd run every two weeks. He won't be doing anything for a month.
"I'm sure he'll get a couple of big entries, but we might just keep it low key and run him in one of those graduation chases next time."
Betvictor Haldon Gold Cup Chase (a Limited Handicap)
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