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.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
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

Investigo: International Finance Analyst

£270 - £300 per annum: Investigo: An exciting opportunity to join an internati...

Recruitment Genius: CAD / CAM Ladies Cocktail & Eveningwear Gerber Grader

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Field Sales Rep -Management Software - £45,000 OTE

£28000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £45,00 + pension: h2 Recruit Ltd: A great new ...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?