The Young Master just held off last year's winner Just A Par to provide Neil Mulholland with the biggest victory of his career in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

Despite just failing to land back-to-back renewals for Paul Nicholls, the run of Just A Par and the fact Willie Mullins' runners were unplaced meant the Ditcheat handler was crowned champion trainer for a 10th time.

The Young Master sprang to prominence as a five-year-old when winning the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton but it later transpired he was not qualified to run in the race.

He ended that season running in the RSA Chase and was subsequently bought by prominent owner Robert Waley-Cohen to be ridden by his amateur son, Sam.

Always prominent, there were plenty in with a chance at the Pond fence, including Southfield Theatre, Dynaste and Theatre Guide, but The Young Master pulled out more.

The 8-1 winner held Just A Par by a short head with top weight Sausalito Sunrise third and Southfield Theatre fourth.

Waley Cohen said: "He's a wonderful horse and it's an honour and a privilege to be riding him.

"He's a thrill, he's an amateur's ride - you just keep kicking and you've got to be brave and ride him with courage.

"I didn't know I'd got there going up the hill, I was throwing everything at him, but he responded."

Mulholland said: "It's a great success for everyone at the yard, a great day. He's a great horse for this race, he's been a good servant for the yard. We've had a great season and this is the icing on the cake."

Mulholland went on: "He's tough and genuine but he'd been hard on the bridle throughout so he's done well to get up the hill.

"The long-term plan with him is the Grand National but I felt it was a year too soon this time.

"He's bred for seven furlongs and when I bought him as a two-year-old it was to run on the Flat as I didn't have many.

"He just kept getting stronger and stronger and he's improving with age.

"Next year all roads lead to Aintree, as they will with The Druids Nephew and Carole's Destrier.

"He wouldn't be the first horse to win a National who started out on the Flat (in reference to Red Rum)."