Caspian Caviar Gold Cup
|Handicap Chase, Cheltenham 13:55
Grade 3, £130,000 added,
2m 4f 127y, Class 1
|Saturday 14th December 2019
1 Warthog 7/1
Robin Des Foret 16/1
13 ran NR: Benatar, Lalor, Riders Onthe Storm
Distances: hd, ¾l, 1¾l Time: 5m 34.30s (slow by 35.30s)
Trainer David Pipe landed a second victory in the G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup when Warthog (David Noonan) rallied in the shadow of the post to register a 7/1 success.
Having always been in a prominent position, Warthog looked booked for second place as the 40/1 complete outsider Spiritofthegames (Dan Skelton/Bridget Andrews) went into what appeared to be a decisive lead after the last.
However, David Noonan was able to produce a renewed effort from Warthog in the final half -furlong and the seven-year-old got up in the final strides to score by a head. Irish challenger Robin Des Foret (Willie Mullins/James Bowen) was another three-quarters of a length away in third with 5/1 favourite Cepage (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch) in fourth.
Pipe, who previously landed the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with Tamarinbleu in 2007, said: "In the past, Warthog has been a bit of a weak finisher and he was in the two-mile race as well. We weren't sure which one to go for but luckily we have picked the right one.
"Last season, he started off really well first time out and then it all went wrong. We wanted two good runs together and he has certainly done that."
David Noonan added: "Warthog has been a weak finisher but today he found extra when it mattered from somewhere. He ran very well here in the BetVictor and just finished weakly but I was probably able to hang on to him a little bit more today.
"Every time he jumps, he is filling himself up, and it's great for everyone at Pond House. I'd like to thank David, Bryan and Caroline for having the faith to let me ride the horse."
Warthog is owned by Professor Caroline Tisdall and Bryan Drew.
Drew commented: "As he came past us, we thought we were booked for fifth or sixth and then he has found something near the end, come in and just pipped the other horse on the line - it's phenomenal.
"We were worried about the trip because he struggled a bit over two-four last time and this is two-five on a galloping track, so we are on cloud nine at the minute. He is obviously keener, fitter and has enjoyed the day. That was a fabulous win.
"I think his jumping has won it because he has almost been immaculate and it has kept him in the race at the end. He was on fumes and then he has seen a chink of light and has gone for it.
"David has done a great job with him. He has a bit of a lacklustre season last year and David has brought both our greys - Warthog and Champers On Ice - back to top form.
"David Noonan gives him a nice quiet ride, he lets get on and gets him jumping, so he thoroughly deserved the ride today and he has repaid us. It's wonderful and I am so pleased."
Tisdall, celebrating her 74th birthday today, added: "It's the best birthday present you could possibly have, with all these people to share it with. I think some of it must be mental because we have sometimes thought that he wasn't quite the bravest - certainly the most beautiful and possibly one of the largest, but maybe not the bravest. Today, he was very brave.
"David Noonan won on Warthog at Sandown and it's great for a young jockey to have a big chance like this on the big stage."
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup
POS DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 Warthog 7 10-3 David Pipe David Noonan 7/1
£130,000 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f 127y, Class 1
2 hd Spiritofthegames 7 11-3 Dan Skelton Bridget Andrews 40/1
3 ¾ Robin Des Foret 9 11-5 W P Mullins James Bowen 16/1
4 1¾ Cepage 7 11-12 Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch 5/1F
5 2½ Imperial Presence 8 11-3 Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson 33/1
6 19 Not That Fuisse 6 10-2 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 7/1
7 ½ Good Man Pat 6 10-7 Alan King Tom Cannon 15/2
8 nk Brelan D'As 8 11-0 Paul Nicholls Barry Geraghty 7/1
9 35 Clondaw Castle 7 11-1 Tom George Jonathan Burke 7/1
10 13 Secret Investor 7 11-7 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 8/1
F F55-36 Knocknanuss 9 11-2 Gary Moore Jamie Moore 12/1
PU 1003-1 Keeper Hill 8 11-10 Warren Greatrex A P Heskin 16/1
PU 171-81 Generous Day 7 10-5 Henry Oliver James Davies 25/1
NR 3 31FP-1 Riders Onthe Storm 6 11-10 Nigel Twiston-Davies NON RUNNER
NR 5 13P6-4 Lalor 7 11-6 Kayley Woollacott NON RUNNER
NR 6 /4437- Benatar 7 11-5 Gary Moore NON RUNNER