Second Haldon Gold Cup win for God’s Own
Tom George has plenty of young talent to work with this season and stable stalwart God’s Own showed he still has a big part to play in winning the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter for the second time.
Having claimed the Grade Two prize back in 2014, the evergreen 10year-old got the better of long-time leader Ozzie The Oscar in a pulsating finish on Tuesday, to score for the first time since the Champion Chase at Punchestown in April 2016.
Stalking the pace for much of the extended two-mile-one-furlong contest, the 7-2 shot was delivered by Paddy Brennan to make his challenge over the final fence, after working his way into the race up the home straight.
Showing his appetite for a fight, God’s Own rallied well under pressure before forging on close to the line to score by half a length and earn a 251 quote for the Ryanair Chase with Paddy Power.
George said: “I was more emotional about that one than any other winner I’ve had. For him to come back after last season was great. I keep on saying about the ground, but it just shows how important it is to some horses. He is 10 years of age and has still got plenty left in him.
“He had everything in his favour, although age was not in his favour. He has had lots of little issues down the years, but we’ve kept the wheels on and he was fresh and well for today.
“They probably didn’t quite go quick enough and he was quite keen. It did turn into a bit of a sprint turning in – over two-miles-one a proper gallop would suit him better, but he is a class horse.
“In the Tingle Creek he will come up against fresh horses again, but today was what we were aiming for. Paddy said after the Celebration Chase we should aim him here.
“Punchestown and here are big, galloping tracks and that is where he shows his best form.”
The well-fancied Diego Du Charmil was last of the five runners, and his Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls said: “He took the bulb of his heel and shoe off at the second-last down the back.
“We will be able to run him in six weeks’ time, it is not like last year when he got injured at Newton Abbot and was out until the spring.”