Bobs Worth claims Cheltenham Gold Cup

Cheltenham had a new champion when Bobs Worth won the Gold Cup. The highlight of the four-day Festival saw the favourite, ridden by Barry Geraghty hold off the challenge of Sir Des Champs to cruise to victory. Bobs Worth’s stamina was the crucial difference in the final slog through the Cheltenham mud to the finishing line.

Geraghty knew the horse very well as he actually bought Bob’s Worth as a yearling and later sold him. "I nursed him on in fourth gear and I saved fifth gear for the second last," the jockey said.

Geraghty noticed that the horse has developed remarkably this season. "It's like seeing a child," the jockey told reports after the race. "If you only see them every few weeks you can see them change and grow, and in the last three or four weeks, I couldn't believe how this fellow turned inside out. He grew a neck, and a back end." Geraghty attributed the improvement to trainer Nicky Henderson. The Gold Cup victory seems to have assured Henderson of the trainers’ championship this year. It's tougher now than it ever was," Henderson said about Cheltenham, "but the fun has never gone out of it and that's where we're lucky."

There was still a bittersweet feel about the final day at Cheltenham though. Most people involved in the sport were thinking about the injury to jockey JT McNamara who had been airlifted off the course the previous day with a serious neck injury. McNamara was still in intensive care. "It's one of the biggest days of my career," Geraghty said, "and all I can think of is a good friend of ours who is in hospital and we hope and pray that he's okay. It’s a much quieter place than normal, and as soon as I pulled up, that's all I could think about.”

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