Bobs Worth bounces back in style

Gold Cup champion trounces Irish challengers to become clear favourite to retain Festival crown

Hearts, one real and others more elusively metaphorical in character, were the talk of the tracks yesterday. It was confirmed that Sprinter Sacre, sensationally pulled up at Kempton on Friday when long odds-on to take his unbeaten run over fences to 11, has a cardiac problem not uncommon in racehorses of his large size and exceptional ability.

With a decisive victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, his stablemate Bobs Worth showed that, despite a resounding flop on his seasonal return to action last month, his will to win and ability remain intact. And their trainer Nicky Henderson's pulse is surely now beating steady again.

The Lexus Chase was make or break for Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth, who had trailed in a dismal sixth behind Cue Card, Dynaste and Boxing Day's King George VI Chase hero Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his first run since his glory day in March. After his defeat of Ireland's best, headed by First Lieutenant, he is now clear favourite, as short as 2-1, to retain his Festival crown.

Henderson, the reigning champion of a profession that so frequently racks the emotions, is never one to keep his under wraps, and his relief as he welcomed back Bobs Worth and his rider, Barry Geraghty, was typically apparent.

"This wasn't just an up after the down of Sprinter Sacre," he said. "When Bobs Worth got thumped like that at Haydock it frightened the living daylights out of all of us, and to get him back like this is mega. He's picked himself up after a horror run and put himself right back in the Gold Cup ball park."

Bobs Worth made the trip to Ireland largely at Geraghty's insistence. "I wasn't happy about the weather or the ground and would have given anything two days ago to take him out of the race," admitted Henderson, "but Barry was keen, as he believed he'd get better ground here than anywhere in England. And after only four or five fences I could see the horse was enjoying himself." The three-mile test at the Co Dublin track puts more of an emphasis on stamina than that at much sharper Haydock. As Rubi Ball blazed the trail Bobs Worth, the 11-4 joint favourite, stayed handy, and though he came to the last only third as First Lieutenant, who had jumped particularly well, took over from the leader, he stayed on strongly to take the Grade One prize by a length and a half. The other joint-favourite, Sir Des Champs, second in the latest Gold Cup, finished fourth.

"There were some good reasons why he got beat at Haydock," said Geraghty of the honest little eight-year-old he raised as a youngster and knows so well, "like the track and the very soft ground. I was looking this morning for reasons he might get beat today, and to be honest I couldn't find many.

"They went steady enough, but it was a proper race, hell for leather from the last. He's not just about stamina, he's got class and pace too, and he was able to show it. The ground was beautiful, and halfway up the run-in I knew he'd get up."

Bobs Worth is not likely to be seen again until the Gold Cup. "We'll take him home and decide what to do," said Henderson, "but I suspect it will be nothing until March. And we've already seen how he loves the Cheltenham hill."

Whether Sprinter Sacre, who spent yesterday having tests, will be able to defend his two-mile Festival title remains to be seen. The seven-year-old is suffering from an irregular heartbeat, a problem the former Gold Cup winner Denman – likewise a superior athlete with a massive physique and unusually large heart – also once encountered, and recovered from. "It may stabilise on its own," said Henderson, "or if not, medicines and technology will come into employment."

Guts as well as heart were the order of the day for the Welsh Grand National, a three-and-three-quarter- mile slog in the mud. Victory went to the locally owned 20-1 shot Mountainous, who gave small-time trainer Richard Lee a second success in the Chepstow showpiece in four runnings as he held on by a head and half a length under Paul Moloney from the Paul Nicholls stablemates Hawkes Point and the most gallant top-weight, Tidal Bay.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

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
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum