Racing: War of Attrition triumphs for Ireland in thrilling Cheltenham Gold Cup

'He ran a blinder, landed running and stayed on'

The quality of the Gold Cup had been called into question beforehand, but not in the aftermath, by those who rode in it at least. "If that was a bad Gold Cup I'd be amazed," said Richard Johnson, on sixth-placed Monkerhostin. "We went some gallop the whole way. I was travelling, but I couldn't have gone a stride faster. And if anything faltered there was something there to jump in and take over the pace."

Johnson's judgement of speed was spot on. War Of Attrition stopped the clock at 6min 31.7sec. In the past 50 years only two Gold Cup winners have gone faster, Looks Like Trouble (6:30.3) six years ago and Norton's Coin (6:30.9) in 1990.

"I was tapped for toe the whole way," confirmed Andy Thornton, seventh on Sir Rembrandt. "I thought I was half getting back into it at the top of the hill and then they just kicked away again. In last year's ground he would have got into the money again. But bring on the Grand National."

After last year's Aintree hero Hedgehunter's valiant effort in second place, Golden Miller remains the only horse to win a Gold Cup after a National. "He ran a blinder," said rider Ruby Walsh, "and I thought I might get there going to the last, but the winner landed running and stayed on."

Forget The Past, third, will also be jumping spruce in due course. "He wants further," said trainer Michael O'Brien's daughter, Anne-Marie Cullen, "and he'll be entered in the Irish National this time. But he could be an ideal one for Aintree next year."

Fourth-placed L'Ami will be back at Cheltenham 12 months hence. "He had a hard time laying up with the gallop early," said trainer François Doumen. "He was having to put in long ones and was never really comfortable. But he was flying at the end. He's only seven, and perhaps a little tender, but he should be an ideal Gold Cup horse next year."

The 4-1 favourite Beef Or Salmon, though, is unlikely to return. His 11th place was his fourth successive defeat in the race and his trainer, Michael Hourigan, has finally hoisted the white flag. "I'll have to try to get him to run the Gold Cup at Leopardstown," he said. "I probably have to believe what people say about the horse and Cheltenham now. He was never travelling, Paul [Carberry] was slapping him down the shoulder after a circuit. But he's safe and sound and there are plenty of good races for him in Ireland. He'll probably run in the Heineken Gold Cup at Punchestown and then have his holiday."

Monkerhostin may go chasing yen. "I can't see him running in the National off top weight," said Trainer Philip Hobbs, "but he is in the three-mile conditions race [the Betfair Bowl] and the Nakayama Grand Jump, which has £500,000 to the winner."

On the pulled-up Iris's Gift, discretion was the better part of valour for Tony McCoy. "We were in a good position for a circuit, but once he was off the bridle he was struggling, and the way he jumped the last ditch he'd have fallen if we'd carried on."

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
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: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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