Saturday, 17 November 2012

Shooters Wood Winner for Walsh

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The Ruby Walsh-ridden Shooters Wood held off Wetak to land the Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

Paul Nicholls' charge (7/1) travelled very well throughout the two mile contest and hit the front coming down the hill.

Although sternly challenged by Wetak (12/1) after the last, he was driven out by Walsh for a well-deserved victory.

Nicholls said: "We were delighted with our horse (Unioniste, third) in the first. He ran well behind two very good horses and this lad's run a blinder.

"Ruby said he probably should have won on him at Taunton the last day. It was the first time he'd sat on him and he said he should have saved a bit.

"Today I knew Ruby would ride him a bit differently and save a little bit for the hill and it was perfect."

Nicholls added: "I think left-handed tracks suit him better. "He looks an out-and-out two-miler and I'm not sure what we will do with him now."

Walsh said: "He's a good jumper and has loads of pace which is what you need in a two-mile horse."

The runner-up, ridden by Tom Scudamore and trained by French handler Francois Cottin, was the only one who could match strides with the winner before two out but just couldn't reel in his rival late on.

Third home was Fergal O'Brien's Silver Roque (6/1) who threatened to play a major part before the last fence but could find no more in the final furlong.

The well-fancied pair of Astracad and Kid Cassidy, sent off the 9/2 joint-favourites, both plugged on to finish fourth and fifth respectively.

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