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Ruby Walsh pilots Al Ferof to Paddy Power Gold Cup

Updated: Sunday, 18 Nov 2012 14:04 | Comments

Ruby Walsh won on 8-1 shot Al Ferof
Ruby Walsh won on 8-1 shot Al Ferof

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Paul Nicholls claimed a first Paddy Power Gold Cup as Al Ferof defied a huge weight burden with a brilliant round of jumping at Cheltenham.

Nicholls, owner John Hales and jockey Ruby Walsh have suffered heartache in this race before with the ill-fated Granit Jack, but the 8-1 chance went a long way to exorcising those demons.

Still under a tight hold at the top of the hill, where first Hunt Ball and shortly afterwards Grands Crus had run their races, Walsh was joined by another grey, Walkon, and held just a slight advantage two out.

He stamped his class on proceedings from there, and hard as the Alan King runner tried he could not reel him in up the gruelling hill, finishing three lengths adrift.

Nadiya de la Vega was third with long-time leader Casey Top running a gallant race in fourth.

Nicholls said: "He came in late because he cut himself in the field, but he had a gallop at Wincanton last weekend and went really well.

"The second-season chasers of ours like him are improving, I don't think the horses were right last year.

"We'll have to think about Kempton (King George) I suppose, he stayed well there and I think we'll have to look at it."

Walsh said: "You need a bit of class in this race, which is why we were keen to take chance. In fairness to him we were forcing him at two (miles). Stepping up in trip is probably what we should be doing."

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