Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Tragedy Ruins a Superb Victory; L'Antartique Storms Home as Nicholls' Charge Is Killed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Tragedy Ruins a Superb Victory; L'Antartique Storms Home as Nicholls' Charge Is Killed

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martin Kelly

L'ANTARTIQUE stormed up the famous Cheltenham hill to repeat his Festival success in a Paddy Power Gold Cup heavily tinged with sadness.

Favourite-backers suffered the horror of watching 3-1 favourite Granit Jack crumple on landing when leading at the penultimate fence, after which the strong-travelling grey tragically failed to get back up.

That compounded a bleak day for champion trainer Paul Nicholls after his stable jockey Ruby Walsh suffered a dislocated shoulder when parting company with the ill-fated Willyanwoody earlier in the afternoon. Those in the packed stands had sent L'Antartique off as the 13-2 second-favourite, and he was roared home as Graham Lee produced the seven-year-old to lead just after the last.

Winner of the Jewson Novices' Chase at the track in March, he crept round the inner under Lee before making his challenge on the far side. There were a handful in with a chance on the run-in but the resolute L'Antartique kept on best of all to hold Il Duce by a neck, with Knowhere and Palarshan close up in third and fourth.

The winner's trainer Ferdy Murphy is renowned for capturing major races in the spring, but signalled his intent on securing the pounds 120,000 handicap when the Tony Durkan-owned winner scored at Carlisle two weeks ago.

Murphy said: "Everything has gone really well for him. He was a little bit more forward than we thought for his prep run. He had a real top man on top and that's the important thing. Going to the top of the hill I thought he was going to get trapped but he knew what he was doing and he got out.

"We had about six or seven horses for this race and we had to decide which were going to go for it. We could have kept Granit Jack out, but we didn't as we didn't think it would be sporting. This fellow will probably go to the Lexus Chase now (at Leo-pardstown on December 28) - his owner lives near the track and I am sure he will be twisting my arm to run! …

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