China lands Gold Cup28/04/2012 - 15:45:16
China Rock made a swift reappearance pay as he triumphed in thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup.
Mouse Morris’ nine-year-old was making his second appearance at the Festival meeting after finishing fourth in the two-mile Champion Chase at the track on Tuesday.
Stepping back up in trip to three miles and a furlong, Barry Geraghty was clearly cruising aboard the 20-1 outsider as front-running favourite Quel Esprit tried to kick clear turning for home.
Rubi Light went upsides as he made his own bid for glory but Geraghty was biding his time before launching his challenge at the second-last.
China Rock picked up in style and met the final obstacle in style, with only last year’s winner Follow The Plan representing the only real threat.
Morris’ charge had already flown though and he passed the post with five lengths to spare with Quel Esprit plugging away for third.
China Rock was sporting a first-time tongue tie and Morris thought had made all the difference in his quick run back.
“We weren’t going to win anything with him at home! He had a problem and we couldn’t find it,” he said.
“I thought he bled here the last day (Tuesday) and he didn’t so I was trying to scope him with the onboard scope to see about his wind and I said I’d put a tongue strap on him.
“There was only seven or eight runners and there was great prize money down to sixth.
“He was travelling well in the Gold Cup and he fell into a hole, he was travelling reasonable enough the other day over two miles and he fell into a hole again, he just wasn’t getting home so it was obviously a wind problem.
“We don’t know what it is yet obviously but the wind was the problem. It’s magic!”
Geraghty felt China Rock was a worthy winner and admitted he knew he had a shot at glory some way from home.
“He won on merit. He jumped and travelled away and just kept travelling,” he said.
“Honestly, as we turned away from the last ditch, I was letting the two lads off in front trying to fill up a little bit (give him a breather) and secure third really, but as we pressed on up to what was the second last, I was travelling better than the two in front.
“He has been competitive in very good races, he has been at this level before but he just hasn’t been of late.
“Mouse put a tongue tie on him – Ruby rode him the last day and whether he prescribed that or not, I’m not sure but something worked anyway.
“He jumped and he travelled and he saw out the race where he hasn’t been seeing out his races in the past, Mouse told me as it’s been a while since I’ve ridden him.”
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