Racing: Our Vic vindicates Pipe's faith

Skills of the champion trainer restore winning confidence in faltering chaser

Our Vic, the 9-2 favourite, maintained Martin Pipe's extraordinary record in the season's first feature steeplechase yesterday, winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup with a bravura display of equine athleticism. And in so doing, the seven-year-old gelding, left no doubts as to just why Pipe is the 15-times champion trainer of jumpers.

For this is a horse who, less than a year ago, was lying on the landing side of the final fence here after a twisting, bone-crunching horror of a fall. The physical and mental legacy of the experience was huge, though not wholly apparent until after two subsequent outings, in which he was pulled up, sore and miserable.

Battered in body and mind, Our Vic was started again from scratch over the summer and Pipe's first words afterwards were for the team who brought the horse to yesterday's fray healed and happy. "The vets, the physiotherapist, the girl who looks after him, everyone," he said. "His injuries were life-threatening. He had pulled ligaments and there was deep bruising everywhere. This is a wonderful result for us all."

As soon as the tapes rose yesterday it was apparent that all was well with Our Vic. An imposing individual, he set off more than enthusiastically, running and jumping so strongly in Timmy Murphy's hands that he had joined battle in the front rank by the fourth fence. Coming down the hill he was clear and being roared home; one possible danger disappeared with Redemption's fall two out and it was left to his old rival Monkerhostin - the beneficiary of that terrible fall last December - to chase him up the hill, two and a half lengths adrift. Kandjar D'Allier came in third, and Fondmort fourth.

For Murphy, the only dicey moment came at the final obstacle, when he was blinded by the low winter sun. "Martin's only instructions were to jump the first fence, and make sure I was still there to jump the last," he said. "The problem was, I couldn't see it. But I hoped the horse could."

Our Vic could, for he shifted direction and hopped neatly over in a shortened stride. That, for his lass, Susie Crockett, was the moment of truth. "If he was brave enough to trust himself to do that at the fence that nearly killed him, with the sun in his eyes, I knew he was back to his old self," she said. "He's a highly intelligent horse, perhaps too intelligent for his own good, because he remembered too much.

"When he ran the two times after his fall, I could see he was hating it. It has been a long road with him. But we've given him all the time he's needed during the summer, playing about with him, taking him out around the woods and tracks and getting him confident again."

One man, in particular, has helped Our Vic get back his self-belief, the former jockey Jon Lower, who does the schooling at Nicholashayne. "All credit to him," added Murphy. "The horse jumped quite beautifully."

The victory, worth £62,722 to the winning owner, David Johnson, was Pipe's fifth in the race in six years, eighth in all and fourth of the meeting that he so habitually monopolises.

The start of the big race was delayed for 10 minutes because of the setting sun and the timing of chases may be reviewed. Richard Johnson, Monkerhostin's rider, said: "He was lucky not to fall at the second fence up the straight, a mistake definitely due to the sun, but it didn't affect my position at the end."

Our Vic has been introduced into the betting for the Hennessy Gold Cup 13 days hence as favourite (at prices between 4-1 and 8-1) but Pipe would not commit him to that task. "Today was the plan," he said. "There has been a lot of pressure getting him right again, and I have not really thought any further."

Should Our Vic turn out at Newbury, one of his rivals will be Trabolgan, nudging him at the top of the market in some lists. Nicky Henderson, on the mark yesterday with the smart-looking staying chaser Crozan, revealed that the seven-year-old, winner of the Royal and SunAlliance Chase in March on his last outing, would skip a clash with Kicking King in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday and represent Seven Barrows in the Hennessy, instead of Juveigneur.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
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

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'