1 Ga Law 5/1
2 French Dynamite 5/1
3 Midnight River 15/2
14 ran NR: Editeur Du Gite, Happygolucky
Distances: ¾l, 3l, 1¼l Time: 5m 2.77s (slow by 2.77s)
The @jamiesnowden trained Ga Law finished well under jockey @JohnnyBurke2 to collar French Dynamite for a thrilling victory in the @paddypower Gold Cup @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/KCurNlr0ap https://t.co/n9AG36jL3P via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) November 13, 2022
The Jamie Snowden-trained Ga Law finished well under jockey Jonathan Burke to collar French Dynamite for a thrilling victory.
Only Edward O’Grady’s Tranquil Sea in 2009 had taken the historic handicap back across the Irish Sea since Bright Highway in 1980 – but that all looked set to be forgotten as Mouse Morris’ French Dynamite travelled like the winner throughout.
While plenty in behind endured troubled passages or made mistakes, Darragh O’Keeffe sat in the box seat on French Dynamite, just behind the leader Storm Control.
As the field turned into the straight with two to jump and Storm Control cried enough, French Dynamite was left in front and still seemed full of running.
Il Ridoto, Simply The Betts, Midnight River and Ga Law were within hailing distance, but when French Dynamite jumped two out well he appeared to have sealed it.
Unfortunately for his backers he met the last fence all wrong, losing momentum and giving Ga Law (5-1) – who had run a fine race at Aintree last month on his return from an absence of 603 days – and Burke a chance they would not relinquish, holding off the rallying French Dynamite by three-quarters of a lengths, with Midnight River third.
“It is an emotional afternoon. Nick Foot died of cancer. There were six of them who came to Cheltenham year in year out and they set up this partnership (The Footie Partnership) with the idea of coming back here and hoping to win a big race at Cheltenham. And here it is – it is all credit to these five guys behind me,” said Snowden.
“I think Nick Foot would have had a grandson yesterday, so it has all come together.
“All credit must go to my head girl who has nursed him back from injury. He had 600 days off with a tendon injury. My head girl and the vets have done a wonderful job to get him back.
“He ran a great race at Aintree and stepped forward again to win that. It is lovely.
“We were third in it with Pleasant View a couple of years back after he had won at the Festival that year, so hopefully this chap can go and follow suit and win at the Festival next year. It would be nice.”
He went on: “Big Saturday winners is what it is all about, but everyday winners count a lot for everything going forward. We have been lucky enough to have a Festival winner in the past and there is nothing like Cheltenham and these big races, so it is a wonderful team performance to get him back.
“He is very lightly raced, That was only his second run outside of novice company. His first run out of that was in the Old Roan (at Aintree). He was off a mark of 142 and it was obvious we had to come down the handicap route and we will enjoy today and see what tomorrow brings us, but on the back of that, he certainly wants to be going up in trip. We wouldn’t shy away from three miles.
“When he got injured, which was before the spring festivals in his novice year, I said to the guys, ‘don’t worry about it – we’ll win the Paddy Power in 2022’. But it is all very well saying that then.
“To get him back from injury and nursing him through all that and nursing him back fit and get the prep run into him…obviously the ground has not necessarily been ideal to get a prep run into him, we were struggling as it was just three weeks after the Old Roan and it was pretty tight, but we knew off his mark this was the year for this race.”
A disappointed Morris said: “He is 17 hands and only a pup. He’s a horse who gets you out of bed in the morning. He will probably end up going over three miles again. He has enough toe for that (two and a half miles), but I think he’ll get three miles.
“That was only his first handicap per se. He didn’t miss a beat bar the last.
“Around Cheltenham they have never won until they have passed the post. I’m well used to that – it’s my old age.
“I’m delighted but obviously disappointed. He gave him a super ride. Lovely job. He is only a novice but these are competitive handicaps. It is a big difference.
“I’d say keep him at Grade Three of Listed, probably better off. We’ll keep him at home and he loves this good ground. He’s one for Punchestown, I’d say.”
Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
£160,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 44y, Class 1
1 Ga Law 6 11-0 Jamie Snowden Jonathan Burke 5/1
2 ¾ French Dynamite 7 11-6 M F Morris Darragh O'Keeffe 5/1
3 3 Midnight River 7 11-3 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 15/2
4 1¼ Il Ridoto 5 10-12 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 8/1
5 ¾ Deyrann De Carjac 9 10-2 Alan King Harry Kimber 18/1
6 5½ Nassalam 5 11-2 Gary Moore Jamie Moore 22/1
7 ½ Simply The Betts 9 11-10 Paul Nicholls Mr David Maxwell 16/1
8 4¼ Storm Control 9 10-6 Kerry Lee Richard Patrick 50/1
9 13 Galahad Quest 6 10-3 Jane Williams David Noonan 14/1
10 5½ Umbrigado 8 11-2 David Pipe Tom Scudamore 14/1
FELL Slate House 10 10-12 Joe Tizzard Brendan Powell 66/1
FELL Mister Fisher 8 12-0 Nicky Henderson James Bowen 18/1
PU Coole Cody 11 11-9 Evan Williams Adam Wedge 16/1
UR Stolen Silver 7 11-8 Sam Thomas Sam Twiston-Davies 4/1F
NR 2 114P-3 Editeur Du Gite 8 11-11 Gary Moore NON RUNNER
NR 5 12121/ Happygolucky 8 11-9 Kim Bailey NON RUNNER