Cheltenham Festival: Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth 'brave as a lion'
Jockey Barry Geraghty proclaimed Bobs Worth as “brave as a lion” after he won an epic Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup to give trainer Nicky Henderson his 50th Festival winner, writes Jonathan Herbert.
Now unbeaten in five races at Prestbury Park, Bobs Worth proved too strong for Irish raider Sir Des Champs in the final surge to the line to chalk up a third Festival success of his own by seven lengths.
Geraghty said he grew in confidence about his chances approaching the last three fences to jump because he knew Bobs Worth would keep on battling up the hill.
“He’s as brave as a lion and he just loves his job,” he said. “I know he hadn’t run since the Hennessy, but I had faith in the horse and I knew Nicky would have him fit enough.
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“He struggled on the soft ground for most of the way and after a mile I knew he wasn’t happy so I started trying to conserve his energy. From there I took my time and just chased him along quietly.
“I thought I was beaten with five or six fences to jump, but he ran on down the hill and jumped the third-last well and from there I just held him together.
“He’s not over-big and ideally he wants better ground. He sold them all a dummy today, because he didn’t travel well, but I knew if I needed it there was a good bit in reserve.
“He showed a lot of pace when he worked last week at Kempton, which was a reminder of what he can do, and I knew I had to delay my challenge and not be in a big panic.”
Henderson, who also trained third-placed Long Run, who made most of the running, said winning the Gold Cup capped a fantastic week for his Seven Barrows stable in Lambourn, Berkshire.
Virtually certain to win the trainers’ championship, Henderson said Bobs Worth was completely different to his cocksure Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Sprinter Sacre.
“One of them is a complete show-off and the other (Bobs Worth) is just a lovely person,” he said. “He’s a good-looking horse but he’s not a stunning-looking horse. They’re complete opposites.
“He’s such an honest horse, a thorough professional and he loves what he does, and he loves coming up that hill. He looked like he was in a bit of trouble coming down it, but in fairness he always gallops up it.
“Barry gave Bobs Worth a lovely patient ride but Sam (Waley-Cohen) has done the right thing on Long Run. Jumping the last he had them all in trouble but he didn’t quite get up there.”
Henderson said Bobs Worth is more likely to run at the Punchestown Festival next month than the Grand National meeting in three weeks’ time, which could be a target for Long Run.