Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fondmort Powers to Famous Victory

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fondmort Powers to Famous Victory

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Hilton

Fondmort gave Nicky Henderson his first victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday on a weekend when the jumps season really took off.

With exhilarating performances from the likes of Thisthatandtother, Back In Front and Swansea Bay still to come, Fondmort staked his claim to be the weekend hero with a superb display of jumping under Mick Fitzgerald.

In winning the pounds 110,000 race, Fondmort also landed a major ante-post gamble that forced him down to 3-1 favourite.

He was always travelling sweetly and took control after jumping the penultimate fence, running on strongly to win unchallenged by eight lengths from Poliantas, with gallant front-runner Ei Ei third.

Henderson said: "The horse has done everything absolutely right today. It was the perfect round by the horse, with the perfect jockey doing the job."

Fondmort could now bid to repeat last year's victory in the Tripleprint Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month.

Fitzgerald, riding as well as ever after joining the elite 1,000-winner club the previous weekend, said: "Our travelling head lad summed it up. He said going round the pre-parade ring that Fondmort looked like Mike Tyson ready to fight."

Yesterday produced a big-race double for trainer Paul Nicholls with Thisthatandtother and Rigmarole, but he experienced a wretched Saturday as Poliantas collapsed and died from a heart attack straight after the race.

It was the second loss to mar the day as the prolific Brother Joe had to be put down after breaking a shoulder in a fall in the opening Peter Bromley Novices' Chase won by Puntal.

The latter was the first leg of a 28-1 treble for Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy.

Puntal had been beaten 30 lengths by Brother Joe in a match the previous weekend, but had his rival beaten before the fall and went on to win by nine lengths from Tikram.

Pipe admitted: "I really wasn't sure about running him. He ran so badly last week that I really thought Rodi (Greene) should have pulled him up, but he was a different horse today."

Next came well-backed favourite Thereal-bandit, who galloped away with the Lombard Properties Handicap Hurdle, and then McCoy was at his never-say-die strongest to get Gone Too Far home in the Western Daily Press Race Club Novices' Handicap Hurdle to complete the hat-trick. …

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