For a moment, Saturday’s Racing Post Gold Cup was a re-run of last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup as Coole Cody rounded the final turn at Cheltenham with Midnight Shadow breathing down his shoulder. Who knows what would have happened had Coole Cody stood up at the second last in the Paddy Power but on this occasion he met the same fence on a perfect stride for Adam Wedge and after bounding over the last, always had enough in reserve to repel his old rival and the late challenge of eventual runner-up Zanza.
“I’m delighted because those big pots are hard to keep coming back and having a crack at,” said trainer Evan Williams. “Although Coole Cody had a fall last time, those things don’t seem to affect him. He’s one of those rare breeds – he’s tough and faces the music every time he lines up for a big gig.
“I went through the form of the race and I couldn’t see why he was 12-1. It’s hard to put into words how tough he is.”
A son of former Glenview Stud stallion Dubai Destination, who now resides in Saudi Arabia, Coole Cody was bred by Timothy Considine and is a half-brother to Grade 3-winning chaser Fine Parchment. They are out of the Lafontaine mare Run For Cover.
Blazing Khal impresses
Also at Cheltenham, Blazing Khal was shortened into 5/1 favouritism by Paddy Power for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle in March following his success in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle for Charles Byrnes.
Returning to the scene of his win in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last month, Blazing Kal relished the step up to three miles on Saturday, travelling well under Donal McInerney to swing into contention approaching the penultimate hurdle, only for a sketchy jump to leave him on the back foot. Reorganised by McInerney, Blazing Kal came back on the bridle and after meeting the final flight on good terms, fought off the challenges of Ballygrifincottage, making his first start for Dan Skelton under rules, and Gelino Bello to win well by just over four lengths.
“He was a lot slicker early on today,” said McInerney. “He put down at the second last but I gave him a slap down the neck and he picked up. He’s better over three miles – it gives him a chance with his jumping.
“There’s no end to his stamina, after the second last he took off and I still got there too soon. He’s very good and I’m very lucky to be riding the likes of him.”
Bred by William Austin in Ireland, Blazing Khal represents several generations of cultivation from his breeder as the first foal out of the Oscar mare Blazing Sonnet. She carried Austin’s colours to victory in three races and is in turn a daughter of the Austin-bred Leading Duke, a Supreme Leader half-sister to the wonderful Danoli.
Guard Your Dreams ran out the game winner of the Grade 2 Unibet International Hurdle, denying a rallying Song For Someone to score by half-a-length for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
The Fame And Glory gelding was headed before two out but kept finding under Sam Twiston-Davies to keep the leader Hunter’s Call in his sights and eventually overhaul that rival. Song For Someone, who was under pressure a long way out, stayed on strongly under Aidan Coleman to grab second.
It was Twiston-Davies’ fifth International success and one that vindicated his belief in the gelding.
“Sam questioned Nigel about putting him in as he’s not really a two miler,” Graham Jelly, who owns the gelding with wife Alison, told ITV Racing. “But this isn’t really a two mile race, it’s a staying two miles. Once he got to the bottom of the hill, we did think he’d stay on. It was great.”
Now the winner of five races, Guard Your Dreams was bred in Britain by Little Lodge Farm and & Mr & Mrs Twr Chugg out of the unraced Definite Article mare Native Sunrise.