Dave's Dream victory gives Henderson a sleepless night

Nicky Henderson was left with an expensive dilemma after welcoming his charge Dave's Dream into the winner's circle after the Imperial Cup here yesterday. The six-year-old, ridden by Barry Geraghty, had just turned the competitive two-mile handicap into a procession with his seven-length rout of Seven Is My Number, Prince Taime and 17 other rivals, and galloped to favouritism for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday in the process.

And with a £75,000 bonus on offer from the bookmaking firm Paddy Power should yesterday's winner follow up at the Festival, Henderson is now in a dither. "This is a gorgeous horse," he said of the 12-1 shot. "He's had his problems, but we've been patient, and we really think he could win a Gold Cup one day. And you just wonder, with such a lovely baby, whether we should throw him into another battle just six days later."

Henderson and veteran owner David Murdoch will sleep on their decision. "If you've got a good horse, you've got to treat him like a good horse," added Henderson. "It's not a bad predicament to be in, and these big bonuses are great things, but they do sometimes force your hand."

It was Henderson's first victory as a trainer in the historic contest, initially run in 1907, although he did win as a jockey, on Acquaint 31 years ago. Yesterday Geraghty could hardly have had an easier passage, steering Dave's Dream to the front going to the final obstacle.

The David Pipe stable, which supplied both Seven Is My Number (backed from 7-1 to 7-2 favourite) and the fourth, Mr Thriller, successfully launched the highest-profile partnership of Cheltenham week when Big Eared Fran took the opener.

The gelding is owned by a Scots businessman, Thomas Barr, who has replaced the Pipe stable jockey, Tom Scudamore, with Andrew McNamara on his horses. On Tuesday the Irishman will ride Osana, runner-up in last year's Champion Hurdle and third favourite to go one better, and Torphichen, second market choice in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

It was McNamara's first ride at the tricky Esher course and all did not go entirely to plan. "It was a bit of a messy race down the far side," he said, "and I found myself further back than I'd hoped. But in the straight it all opened up nicely."

Big Eared Fran, a 13-2 shot, rather dived over the last, but surged up the hill two and three-quarter lengths clear of trailblazing What A Buzz, who was caught close home by fast- finishing Bakbenscher. "I left it to him over the hurdle," added McNamara, "and instead of going in and popping it, he took off on the long stride. But he found his balance quickly."

The two and a half-mile contest, for which ex-Flat runners are ineligible, is designed to produce chasing stars of the future, and indeed Albertas Run, the winner two years ago, was one of 17 horses remaining in Friday's Gold Cup after yesterday's penultimate confirmation stage. But although Big Eared Fran, named after former England footballer Francis Jeffers, did not appear on the Flat, he was certainly bred for it, being a son of Danehill. "The drying ground helped today," said Pipe, "and also the fact he was racing against non-Flat horses." The sprightly grey is now favourite for Friday's inaugural running of the conditional jockeys' race that bears the name of Pipe's father, Martin, and the two in the bush principle is unlikely to apply.

Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor