- Horse Racing
Al Ferof powers to Paddy Power win
Al Ferof handed champion trainer Paul Nicholls his first win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with a gallant effort to deny Walkon.
Grands Crus was sent off a short-priced favourite, but it was another grey in Al Ferof who ploughed through the Cheltenham mud to score at 8/1.
Al Ferof travelled best of all in what was a fast-run race and Ruby Walsh's mount was last off the bridle. Al Ferof was followed into the straight by Walkon, while the likes of Grands Crus and Hunt Ball were left trailing.
Walsh brought Al Ferof under pressure between the final two fences, but he pricked his ears going to the last to suggest he had a bit in the tank and he galloped up the hill to score.
"We'll have to think about Kempton (King George) I suppose, he stayed well there and I think we'll have to look at it."
Walsh said: "You need a bit of class in this race, which is why we were keen to take a chance. In fairness to him we were forcing him at two (miles). Stepping up in trip is probably what we should be doing."
Walsh and Nicholls made a fine start to the day, with Far West making it two from two for the stable with an impressive success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Walsh set out to make all on Far West but was tracked all the way by favourite Vasco Du Ronceray. Barry Geraghty appeared to be travelling the better at the second last, but Far West kept finding for pressure and was well on top at the line.
For the second day in a row, trainer David Pipe introduced a smart novice chaser at Cheltenham as Our Father made a sparkling debut over the larger obstacles in the Rewards4racing Novices' Chase.
Dynaste was hugely impressive the previous day and Or Father was arguably just as imposing as he travelled superbly, jumped well and quickened smartly once asked by Timmy Murphy to hand out a comprehensive beating to Sire Collonges.
It's going to be a big season for him," Pipe said. "He's still a big baby and Timmy said he handled the ground, which is quite testing, although he went wide looking for the better stuff. He was very disappointing last time at Aintree and wasn't ready for the Pertemps at the Festival, but he runs well fresh and let's hope he maintains his form."