Racing: Bandit breaks into Cheltenham Gold Cup betting

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The Independent Online

Therealbandit rewarded the faith of his followers as he shrugged off a disastrous run at Cheltenham last month to trounce his rivals at the same course yesterday and earn a 20-1 quote for the Gold Cup.

Therealbandit rewarded the faith of his followers as he shrugged off a disastrous run at Cheltenham last month to trounce his rivals at the same course yesterday and earn a 20-1 quote for the Gold Cup.

The Martin Pipe-trained gelding, touted earlier this season as the best-handicapped horse in the yard of the champion trainer, was allowed to go off at 13-2 on the back of a below-par showing over hurdles on Paddy Power Gold Cup day.

But with connections none the wiser over that performance, he bounced back in a £50,000 handicap chase. Although challenged by Royal Auclair on the run-in, he was always holding the upper hand and scored by three lengths. Frenchman's Creek made progress close home to finish third.

A delighted Pipe said. "We rode him differently today. He was probably a bit buzzed up last time anyway. We'll see where we go now. He's in the King George." Pipe had earmarked Our Vic for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day and running plans will hinge on the performance of that horse in today's bonusprint.com Gold Cup.

The only downside for Murphy was a one-day suspension (21 December) for using the whip on the run-in without giving his mount time to respond.

Bookmakers cut Therealban dit's odds for Kempton to between 8-1 (William Hill and Ladbrokes) and 12-1 (totesport and Coral), while his Gold Cup odds were trimmed by Coral and totesport to 16-1 from 25-1. The Gold Cup will be the aim of Royal Auclair, who lost little in just failing to give the winner 3lb.

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