Tidal Bay lands bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown

Tidal Bay gains deserved big-race success with bet365 Gold Cup victory

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UPDATED:

16:30 GMT, 28 April 2012

Tidal Bay put up a mighty
weight-carrying performance to win the bet365 Gold Cup Chase on the last
day of the jumps season at Sandown.

It was yet another big-race success
for Paul Nicholls, who retained his trainers' title, and for jockey
Daryl Jacob after the two teamed up to win the John Smith's Grand
National with Neptune Collonges.

It also provided more vindication
for owner Graham Wylie, who shared his string between Nicholls and top
Irish trainer Willie Mullins when Howard Johnson was warned off.

Muddy marvellous: Tidal Bay (right) stayed on to win the bet365 Gold Cup from Roalco De Farges

Muddy marvellous: Tidal Bay (right) stayed on to win the bet365 Gold Cup from Roalco De Farges

Although Tidal Bay (9-1) won the
Arkle Trophy in 2008, he has never lived up to those expectations, but
his class shone through in the difficult ground conditions despite being
saddled with top weight.

The talented but quirky 11-year-old
was on a going day right from the start as he settled beautifully
towards the rear of the pack in the early stages.

He made stealthy progress on the final circuit to join the leaders at the third-last fence.

He jumped ahead of Roalco de Farges at the final fence and amazingly pulled away up the hill to win by 15 lengths.

Roalco de Farges (7-1) was seven lengths ahead of the third Any Currency (16-1) with Vic Venturi a gallant fourth (25-1).

Nicholls said: 'I knew he ran really well over hurdles at Aintree the other day, but he nearly got brought down on the far side.

Bay's day: Tidal Bay slogged up the Sandown hill to land the big prize

Bay's day: Tidal Bay slogged up the Sandown hill to land the big prize

'He flew up the straight and finished fourth. He might have finished second but for that and that race was a prep for this.

'When it kept on raining to slow the
ground down, it was always going to suit him. We knew they would go that
bit slower and it would give him time to get his confidence.

'If it had been quick ground, it might have rushed him and he would not have jumped well enough.

'Everything was right for him today for the first time for a long time.

'He obviously has had class over the years but it has never fitted in right.'

Jacob said: 'He was travelling well and I didn't want to get there too soon. I could afford to take my time.

Big double: Jacob and Sanctuaire tool the bet365.com Celebration Chase

Big double: Jacob and Sanctuaire tool the bet365.com Celebration Chase

'He jumped from fence to fence and winged the last two. I gave him a kick in the belly and off he went.'

Nicholls and Jacob also took the
other main jumps race on the mixed card, the bet365.com Celebration
Chase with Sanctuaire (9-2).

Another smart but unpredictable individual, the six-year-old put in a tremendous round of jumping as he made all.

Taking no prisoners, he soon opened up a massive lead while his rivals struggled to keep up.

He never looked like being caught as
he swept to victory by 17 lengths from Somersby with Dan Breen a further
length and three-quarters away in third.

Nicholls said: 'He doesn't want a lot
of racing. It's taken us two years to work out how to train him and
what he needs to be at his best. “I suspect he will run in the Tingle
Creek back here next. That would probably be the right thing to do.'

Sanctuaire was quoted at 8-1 with BetVictor for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.

Gibb and take: Gibb River (right) and Jeremiah McGrath win the bet365 Handicap Hurdle

Gibb and take: Gibb River (right) and Jeremiah McGrath win the bet365 Handicap Hurdle

Carrying a big weight on heavy ground held no fears for Gibb River (11-1), who finally opened his account for the season in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old was never far off the pace and wore down long-time leader Arab League under 5lb claimer Jeremiah McGrath to score by half a length.

Lexi's Boy put up a game performance under Jason Maguire as he made all in the bet365 Josh Gifford Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Trainer Donald McCain registered his 150th success of the campaign on Friday and Lexi's Boy (9-1) set up a good final day for the Cholmondeley handler, who went on to have a double at Market Rasen.