Racing: Teeton on brink of big time

Hennessy Gold Cup: Runaway win puts Venetia Williams' chaser in line for Gold Cup and Grand National

THE DOUBLE-TAKE glance over the right shoulder said it all. Norman Williamson came swinging towards the home straight on Teeton Mill with one horse and four fences between him and victory in the 42nd Hennessy Gold Cup. "I was travelling so easily and everything else seemed to be going badly," the Irishman said. "I just had to check that it was true and when I had a look behind, it was. I could hardly believe it."

With the toiling 14 in arrears disposed of, there remained only Eudipe up front. At the final open ditch, three fences out, Williamson launched Teeton Mill and the grey went past his rival in the air, almost running away. Another spring-heeled effort at the penultimate obstacle settled an issue that was already beyond doubt bar a fall and Teeton Mill came home, eased down, by 15 lengths. Fiddling The Facts stayed on dourly to claim third place six lengths behind Eudipe, with the Irish challenger Boss Doyle in fourth.

It was a consummately easy victory - the winning distance equalled the record for the race held by, among others, Arkle himself - by a rapidly improving horse at the right end of the handicap, very much in the mould of that by a subsequent champion of the same ghostly hue, One Man, four years ago.

And it put the seal on the increasingly obvious talent of Teeton Mill's trainer, Venetia Williams, who took out a licence to train only three years ago. Williams, based in Herefordshire, has a gilt-edged provenance, having learnt her trade with John Edwards and served shorter spells with Eudipe's trainer, Martin Pipe, Barry Hills and the Australian genius Colin Hayes.

Williamson, who has known Williams since he came over from Ireland nine years ago, has never had any doubts that she would make it. "She's very gifted with horses, you see," he said. "She knows them inside out, she rides them herself at home, she thinks about them morning, noon and night, knows their capabilities. All we jockeys have to do is steer them round."

Teeton Mill, a nine-year-old former point-to-point star who now races in the name of a commercial tipping service, The Winning Line, has the Grand National as his long-term target. He looks an ideal type for Aintree, being a thorough stayer and a clever, sensible jumper of a fence.

"He made only one slight mistake today," Williamson said. "Down the back he got a bit close to one when he was a bit short of light, but he was very neat getting over it. I eased him off the rail after that - no point in getting brought down when you're going so well. If he did get a bit lazy at any point he jumped back into my hands as soon as I moved them, and that's the sign of a good horse.

"It's difficult to tell just yet how good he is. I'd have to put him as just a handicapper at the moment, but there aren't that many top horses around and I would hope that he would not be far off them. I promise you, this race felt just as good as it looked."

With a fast enough early pace considering the rain- softened, tacky ground, the contest was one of attrition. Only seven finished - Him Of Praise, Mahler and Sail By The Stars filled the last three places - with Coome Hill and The Toiseach among the early leaders subsequently pulled up. The favourite, Seven Towers, was always trailing.

The bookmakers still rate Teeton Mill some way off Gold Cup class, though his price for the chasing crown has contracted from around 33-1 to 14- 1 in most lists. But Aintree is a different matter; he is now vying with Cyfor Malta and Suny Bay for favouritism.

Although he has been entered for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, his next outing is likely to be the Welsh National two days later, in which he will come up against the reigning king of Liverpool, Earth Summit.

Ten years ago Williams herself rode in a National and will no doubt wish for better luck as a trainer. She was knocked out when Marcolo came down at Becher's and two weeks later her riding career ended when she fractured two bones in her neck in a hurdles fall.

She took charge of Teeton Mill six months ago after his purchase, for pounds 40,000, by his present owners, for whom he promptly won the hunters' championship, the Horse and Hound Cup, and then trounced the opposition on his seasonal debut at Wincanton. Yesterday's win, a giant step up in class, earned another pounds 36,252 towards his keep.

"We were actually going to go for last week's Becher Chase with him, to give him experience of the big fences. But when he won so well at Wincanton we decided we had to come here. We were more worried about whether the horse would be good enough than the soft going, but now we know."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
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

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London