Racing: Beef Or Salmon lifts gold standard

The dream continued at Leopardstown yesterday when Beef Or Salmon continued his surreal floating through the chasing ranks with victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Irish blue riband.

The dream continued at Leopardstown yesterday when Beef Or Salmon continued his surreal floating through the chasing ranks with victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Irish blue riband.

The final sequence will now be played out in the purest version at Prestbury Park on 13 March, a date which promises to become one of the most significant in jumps racing.

Those who have backed Best Mate, the hot favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will not be sleeping quite so well for the next five weeks or so. Just after the King George VI Chase, Henrietta Knight's jumper looked like a horse ready to bestride his sport for some time.

Two days later though Beef Or Salmon smacked the bottoms of far more experienced and decent horses in his native Ireland and rubber-stamped that performance back at Leopardstown yesterday. And it was not just that he won that was most compelling. It was what he did to those around him, pulling to the lead as others became gasping messes. If you can now get more than 5-1 for the Gold Cup it will be a chance find.

The Cheltenham Festival is a big enough event not to require a single match to sell it. Nevertheless, there is no greater appeal than a raw head-to-head, Ireland against England in the Gold Cup.

There is nothing quite like such a confrontation, our big lad against theirs, money thrown on the ground for a bareknuckle fight at least as much for the prestige as the financial rewards it will bring. Beef Or Salmon has provided us with this mouthwatering outlook.

The chestnut has grown up very quickly in the most celebrated company and the only vestige that he is technically still a novice came in the manner of his careful negotiation of the first sequence of fences yesterday. The even-money favourite spent a deal of time in the air.

Even then though it was transparent that Timmy Murphy believed he had a considerable ally beneath him. The jockey had enough faith in his mount to ride him out at the back, some way off a generous pace set by Harbour Pilot and Colonel Braxton.

As the race warmed up so too did Beef Or Salmon. Florida Pearl was left behind before the turn into the straight and, as the last fence loomed, there was only one horse not being punished to stay in the fight. Beef Or Salmon's nosebanded face was soon in front on the run-in when Murphy drew his whip to make sure. At the line he was four lengths to the good.

"Beef Or Salmon travelled as well as I wanted him to and there were no problems really," the jockey said, adding that the winner would be even more impressive on good going. "He was brilliant three out and came home very well."

The result was great vindication of Michael Hourigan's attacking policy of missing out a level and immediately putting Beef Or Salmon in with the best. There is now a growing belief that the gelding can become the first since Ireland's Captain Christy in 1974 to win the Gold Cup as a novice. Not many try, but there is also the precedent of Dorans Pride, the other great horse to have been through Hourigan's hands, who was third behind Mr Mulligan and Barton Bank in 1997.

The trainer was sufficiently emboldened yesterday to elevate Beef Or Salmon to the head of his affections. "I don't care what ground we have at Cheltenham it won't bother Beef Or Salmon."

Solerina, a stablemate of Limestone Lad, emphasised her Cheltenham prospects in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle by extending her winning sequence. But later on the Leopardstown card, another of Ireland's top Festival hopes, Le Coudray, fell at the final fence when challenging eventual winner Barrow Drive.

LEOPARDSTOWN (Hennessy Gold Cup, 3m): 1. BEEF OR SALMON (T J Murphy) evens fav; 2. Colonel Braxton 7-2; 3. Harbour Pilot 6-1. 5 ran. 4, nk. (M Hourigan). Tote: £1.80; £1.50, £1.70. Exacta: £3.40. CSF: £5.18. Non Runner: Be My Belle.

GOLD CUP (Cheltenham, 13 March, 3m2 1/ 2f) Ladbokes ante-post odds: 6-4 Best Mate, 4-1 (from 6-1) Beef Of Salmon, 8-1 (from 10-1) Hussard Collonges, 10-1 Commanche Court, 12-1 Behrajan, 16-1 Chives, First Gold, Keen Leader & Valley Henry, 25-1 others

Historic race revived

The first race ever run at a County Durham track is being revived. The Sedgefield Silver Plate of 2003, a three-mile and three-furlong steeplechase, will be run on 18 February for a first prize of £6,000.

When the race was initially run almost 273 years ago it was for a silver plate worth 10 guineas. Owners, trainers and jockeys will be pleased that their horses have to run only one race now. In the old days it was the best of three races at what was then known as "Seigefield".

The revival follows proof recently unearthed by the track's general manager, Jim Allen, that the first races at the course took place in 1730. Previously, it had been generally believed that the date was 1732.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas