sport

Double delight for Twistons

Double Ross battled his way up the Cheltenham hill to give trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies a first victory in the Stewart Family Gold Cup.

The local handler had placed in the race on multiple occasions, but 7-1 shot Double Ross finally broke his duck in the hands of the trainer's son, Sam.

Double Ross was well placed throughout as Sew On Target and Easter Meteor set a pace at the head of affairs that had a number of runners in trouble at a relatively early stage.

The well-fancied Grandioso was pulled up some way from home and there looked to be plenty of challengers in behind, not least the Paddy Power winner Johns Spirit and Tony McCoy's mount, Colour Squadron.

The long-time leaders were still in front at the top of the hill, but Twiston-Davies jnr took the initiative aboard Double Ross swooping to two out and while Colour Squadron struggled for a clear passage, he had seized the advantage.

Double Ross, who had done well to survive a fairly serious mistake, was clearly tiring down to the last and on the run-in but while Cantlow made late strides, the line came too soon and the Twiston-Davies' runner had a two-length cushion.

Cantlow claimed second, with 9-2 favourite Colour Squadron clinging on for third.

The winning rider said: "I needed to fill him up down the hill after a mistake to try to get a bit of life back in him and when I turned in he finished really well.

"The last 100 yards were a bit scary, but he's very genuine and all credit to the lads in the yard."

Twiston-Davies snr said: "He's a novice, but that's how you win these big races - he was well handicapped, possibly, and he won. He's always jumped well and done everything right.

"The softer the ground, the better for him and I nearly didn't run him today.

"Those two up front went off very quick, they made it a real test of stamina and that suited him down to the ground.

"He's just a handicapper really, but he is a novice and we have the option of dropping back and doing that and hopefully there'll be something for him here in March. He stays and he'll keep on paying his way."

Paul Webber said of Cantlow: "He made a crucial mistake at one of the ditches, it was just when they were quickening up and he could never make it up after that.

"I'm still very proud of him."