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Cheltenham: Niceonefrankie thumps Cup rivals

The relatively unfancied Niceonefrankie made a mockery of his 16/1 odds to land an action packed Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with an impressive front running performance. Venetia Williams’ 8yo, who arrived here after a bloodless victory at Ascot on his reappearance, simply jumped his rivals into submission from the front under Aidan Coleman.


It had seemed to be a very open contest before the off but Niceonefrankie had his rivals hard at it for most of the contest and this resulted in plenty of the field struggling with their jumping. Workbench, No Buts and Splash Of Ginge all came to grief, while Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Caid Du Berlais also blundered and was quickly pulled up.


Niceonefrankie and Coleman carried on regardless up front with slick round of jumping and having put in a big jump at the second last with ears pricked, repeated that feat at the last before going on to score by 6 lengths from 9/2 joint favourite Barrakilla, with Edgardo Sol back in third.


Winning trainer, Williams, said:  “Hopefully this is the start, rather than the end. It’s taken a while trying to get him to Cheltenham, but it’s nice to get him here.


“The handicapper put him up the best part of a stone for winning at Ascot which made our options a bit more limited, but now he’s won I’m pleased they were.


“He’s a horse who has given everybody a lot of pleasure. For the moment, we’ll just be happy with what happened today before we start thinking about the future.


“We’ve had him since he was a two-year-old, he’s by a sprinter and it’s been a while getting him here. I didn’t want to bring him until he was worthy.


“I always said when he was fully matured we’d see the best of him.


“The plan was to sit handy but his jumping really put them under pressure. I was praying he didn’t walk up the hill. People were wanting to celebrate with me almost before the last fence, but I was trying to tell them all he hadn’t won yet.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: David Davies/PA Wire


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