Addington Boy is man enough

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The Independent Online
The One Man show at Haydock may have been lost to the weather, but yesterday's surviving big chasing prize went back to Greystoke none the less as the grey's stablemate Addington Boy defied top-weight of 11st10lb to win the Tripleprint Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

The Gordon Richards-trained eight-year-old, a well-backed favourite for the two mile and five furlongs contest on Cheltenham's New course, gave Go Universal 18lb and a six-length beating to gain valuable compensation for his unlucky third place in the Murphy's Gold Cup Handicap Chase on the Old course at Prestbury Park last month.

Tony Dobbin kept Addington Boy, who was foot-perfect apart from a blip at the first obstacle, close to the pace as rank outsider Northern Hide led the field a merry dance over all bar the last two fences. He sent the near-black gelding on round the home turn.

Afterwards, he said: "They didn't go very quick over the first few, and my fella was a bit free and fresh and belted the first fence. But it brought him back on to his hocks and he jumped well. And when he took the lead I knew it would take a good one to pass him because he stays so well."

Although tired, Addington Boy showed his qualities in the stamina and guts departments up the hill, putting daylight between himself and his equally weary rivals. Dobbin added: "I hope he gets the chance to come back here in March for the Gold Cup."

Dobbin's former ride One Man, with an easy win at Wetherby in November under his girth, is odds-on ante-post favourite for a repeat win in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, and will now go straight to Kempton without a prep race.

But the Grand National winner Rough Quest, with whom he was due to clash yesterday in the abandoned Tommy Whittle Chase, has yet to run this season and may have a run over hurdles at Southwell or Folkestone on Tuesday to put him spot-on for the big race. Rough Quest's trainer, Terry Casey, said: "The horse is in terrific shape and would have given One Man a hell of a race."

It was touch and go whether Large Action took part in the Bonusprint Bula Hurdle, but Oliver Sherwood's decision to risk his stable star on the fast ground was justified as the Jamie Osborne-ridden eight-year-old held off Bimsey by half a length to win the race for the second time in as many runnings.

The trainer said: "I was seriously worried about the ground when I got here and walked the course, as there were patches of bone in it. The sun was bringing the frost out, but this horse absolutely does not want it any faster than it was today.''

Large Action, whose career has been plagued by leg problems and who runs heavily bandaged in front, was always thereabouts as Muse cut out the running, and although he lost a place or two at the top of the hill he was back on the bridle by the home turn and cruised into the lead.

At the last hurdle, which he skimmed in classic style, the only challenger was Bimsey and, although he pestered Large Action resolutely all the way up the hill, he was always second best. An objection by his rider Graham Bradley to the winner, who drifted slightly off a true line, was swiftly thrown out.

Large Action is now a best priced 6-1 - from 7-1 - with William Hill for the Champion Hurdle. Before that he may take in the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury in February.

Further afield Frankie Dettori - yes, that man again - escaped injury in a fall at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.

His mount was brought down in the second race, and the Italian was ordered to hospital as a precaution, but was later discharged.

Dettori is due back in Britain today to take part in the BBC Sports Review of the Year as one of the favourites for the Sports Personality of the Year.