Tag Archive for: Coole Cody

Redemption for Coole Cody in Cheltenham feature

Coole Cody made amends for falling on his last visit to Cheltenham when winning the Racing Post Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Evan Williams’ 10-year-old came down at the second-last when still leading in his bid to lift the Paddy Power Gold Cup for the second successive year last month.

Midnight Shadow took the spoils that day but Coole Cody (12-1) got his revenge in game fashion under Adam Wedge.

He led at the second fence, galloped on strongly all the way and proved impossible to pass, crossing the line two lengths to the good.

Midnight Shadow met the penultimate fence wrong but he was still second until the dying strides where Zanza snatched the runner-up spot by a short head. Midnight Shadow was third with Fusil Raffles fourth.

Wedge said: “Once I got the front, he just starts taking me and enjoying it. He gallops and I knew he wouldn’t lie down.

“It’s a shame what happened the last day, but it was brilliant he’s gone and done that today.

“Evan has done a fantastic job getting the horse’s confidence back and getting him here in A1 condition.”

The International – Day Two – Cheltenham Racecourse – Saturday 11th December
Coole Cody soars over the last (David Davies/PA)

Williams said: “These big pots are hard to come back and keep having a crack at and the horse is no spring chicken, but although he had a fall last time, those things don’t seem to affect Coole Cody.

“With a lot of horses you’re always nervous after a fall, but when this horse falls on the floor he thinks it’s a bit of fun! He’s a very angry character who will go to war every day if he could.

“He’s just one of those rare breed of horses that’s very tough and very genuine and faces the music every time he comes to a big gig. It’s hard to put into words how tough a horse he is.”

He went on: “The track suits him and I went through the form of the race – and unless I was missing something, I couldn’t see why our horse was 12-1 and the horse that won the Paddy Power was the price he was.

“He’s won a Paddy Power and he’s won this. If he never wins another race in his life, he’s a 10-year-old who has done nothing but try and help us every time he goes to a racecourse.

“These big ones are sweet, especially with the history of these races. I was brought up watching them and remember all those brilliant horses winning them.

“To be in the same context as them means an awful lot.”

Coole Cody none the worse for Cheltenham mishap

Coole Cody could return to Cheltenham for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup next month after emerging unscathed from his fall on Saturday.

The Evan Williams-trained gelding was leading the field when he came down at the second-last fence in his bid to register back-to-back victories in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

That valuable handicap chase is run over the Old Course, which Williams believes Coole Cody prefers, while the Caspian Caviar is on the New Course.

The 10-year-old was sixth in that race in 2020 and it will come under consideration again.

“Everything is grand, all sound. He was running a great race – win, lose or draw,” said Williams.

“We’ll see how he is, how he gets over things and go from there. He likes Cheltenham, but he’s better on that Old Course really.

“That was his big day. OK, it didn’t come off, but we live to fight another day and there are plenty of places for him to go.

“The Caspian Caviar is over the other track, but he’ll probably have an entry for it. We may well end up there. We’ll see how it all pans out.”

Nietzsche seeking to add Paddy Power Gold to Greatwood glory

Brian Ellison’s Nietzsche is aiming for his own little piece of racing history should he win the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.

Having already won the Greatwood Hurdle in 2018, he would become the first horse to land the two feature handicaps at Cheltenham’s November meeting.

Given the Greatwood has been won by a subsequent Champion Hurdle winner and the Paddy Power has been used as a springboard to the Gold Cup, it would be quite an achievement from Ellison to get a horse who has never been rated higher than 137 to win both.

Effective on the Flat, over hurdles and fences, Nietzsche was last seen running at Catterick on the level in October, when Ellison hopes he blew away any cobwebs.

“It would be some achievement if he can pull it off,” said Ellison.

“It’s obviously a tough, open race but he’s going there in good fettle.

“We know he likes Cheltenham, he’s won a Greatwood and ran well over fences there over two miles last December and he even ran well at the Festival over three miles when he just didn’t stay. He’s in good form.

“The ground looks like being beautiful so it shouldn’t be an excuse for anyone.

“He had a run at Catterick and that was just to sharpen him up. He worked well the other day so we just need a bit of luck now.”

Coole Cody and Tom O'Brien on their way to victory last year
Coole Cody and Tom O’Brien on their way to victory last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Coole Cody returns to defend his crown off a 4lb higher mark, having dug deep to prevail under Tom O’Brien 12 months ago.

Trainer Evan Williams said: “He’s just a grand, grand horse. Of course it will be very difficult to go back and reproduce what he did last year, but he runs so well whenever he goes to Cheltenham and it’s just a joy to have a horse that has won a Paddy Power and is going back there to defend his crown.

“It’s great for a horse of his age to retain such enthusiasm for the job – he’s fantastic.”

Al Dancer has plenty of smart Cheltenham form and was third to Coole Cody last year.

Formerly a stalwart of the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard, the Dai Walters-owned grey is 5lb lower now and will be having his first start for Sam Thomas, who said: “I’m delighted to have such a nice horse and we couldn’t have been happier with his work.

Al Dancer has a liking for Cheltenham
Al Dancer has a liking for Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA)

“With a horse rated that high, if you wanted to run him a month or three weeks before there aren’t that many options, so we thought we’d go there fresh.

“He’s had a couple of away days and he’s not going to need the run. There’ll be no moaning afterwards about a lack of fitness, I don’t think.

“We’re optimistic as opposed to anything else as it’s obviously a tough ask in a big race like this, but we’re looking forward to it anyway.”

Protektorat was a course and distance winner as a novice and struck at Grade One level at the Aintree Grand National meeting.

Trainer Dan Skelton said: “We’ve had this race in mind ever since he came in. He has won around the track, it is worth a lot of money and it seemed a good starting point.

“I’m not worried I’ve not got a run into him as he has done loads at home and he has been on the grass gallop twice now so I’m happy. I’m looking forward to it.”

Protektorat starred at Aintree
Protektorat starred at Aintree (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Al Dancer is not the only contender that has moved yards, as Simply The Betts and Lalor represent Paul Nicholls for the first time, having been with Harry Whittington and Kayley Woollacott respectively.

The champion trainer told Betfair: “Simply The Betts hasn’t raced for a year, but he had a wind op in the summer and he has done nothing but please since arriving in the yard. We took him to Exeter recently for a racecourse gallop and is as fit as I can get him without a run.

“I’m still learning about Simply The Betts who has smart form and finished sixth in this race a year ago. But he hasn’t run since and has top weight so he probably has it all to do.”

Lalor is hugely talented at his best
Lalor is hugely talented at his best (David Davies/PA)

He added of Lalor: “We also gave him a wind op when he was sent to us and he has had a trouble-free prep for this race with lots of work, including an away day at Wincanton when he galloped with Politologue. He went nicely there, is very fit and well and ready to run for his life.

“Although he did have very good form in the past, he was pulled up on his last two starts so there are questions to answer. Lalor appears to be over his problems and looks fantastic, but he has to do it on the track now in a really competitive handicap.”

Fergal O’Brien is happy with Paint The Dream, who made a successful return at Chepstow last month in his first race since finishing third in the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown in February.

“I’m looking forward to him running but it’s a tough ask. He hasn’t been laid out for it and we don’t know how much mileage is left in his handicap mark but he goes there in great form,” he said.

“The ground will suit him and I think the race will suit him and it’s fingers crossed.”

Manofthemountain in action at Bangor
Manofthemountain in action at Bangor (David Davies/PA)

Immediately behind Paint The Dream at Chepstow was the Emma Lavelle-trained Manofthemountain.

Lavelle said: “He’s definitely tightened up for that run and he’s in great order.”

“The idea had been to go for the Grand Sefton at Aintree last weekend, but the ground was just too soft for him. It’s all about jumping round Cheltenham and that’s one thing that he absolutely loves doing. He’s a great traveller, he ran against Frodon there over three-miles-one last year and they were neck and neck, but he just didn’t get home.

“I think two and a half miles is much more his trip and we’re looking forward to it.”

Coole Cody primed for Paddy Power defence

Last year’s winner Coole Cody is among 24 horses standing their ground for Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham at the five-day confirmation stage.

Evan Williams’ charge took the valuable two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase by three and a quarter lengths from Spiritofthegames 12 months.

The 10-year-old shaped encouragingly on his pipe-opener over hurdles at the Prestbury Park track last month when runner-up to Guard Your Dreams in a handicap over a similar distance.

Williams said: “We’re giving it another go. He had a nice run last time and blew the old cobwebs away. Obviously we’re a bit higher than last year but we’ll give it a crack.

“He goes well round the track. He enjoys the old course which is a bonus.”

Protektorat is due to represent Dan Skelton
Protektorat is due to represent Dan Skelton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Spiritofthegames is one of two possibles from the Dan Skelton stable along with Protektorat. The latter is one of the 5-1 ante-post joint-favourites along with Lalor, who would be having his first run for Paul Nicholls.

The Ditcheat handler also has Simply The Betts, who would be another making his debut for the yard.

Other fancied runners include the Sam Thomas-trained Al Dancer and Caribean Boy from Nicky Henderson’s stable. The weights are headed by Assemble, trained by Joseph O’Brien.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Trends

Run over 2m 4 ½ furlongs the Paddy Power Gold Cup is the feature contest at the three-day Cheltenham Open Meeting, held each year in the middle of November (12th-14th Nov 2021).

The ‘Pond House’ Pipe stable are the leading yard with nine wins in the race, with Celestial Gold, Our Vic and Great Endeavour, who won the contest in 2011, their most-recent winners.

In 2017, the Paddy Power Gold Cup was won by the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Splash Of Ginge – a win that gave the yard their third success in the race since 2008 and their four overall.

12 months ago, in 2020,  we saw the Evan Williams-trained Coole Cody win the race and if lining up again in 2021 - he’ll be looking to become the first back-to-back winner since Bradbury Star, who won the race in 1993 and 1994.

We take a look at the 2021 Paddy Power Gold Cup renewal from a stats angle – this year run on Saturday 13th November.


Recent Paddy Power Gold Cup Winners

2020 - Coole Cody (10/1)
2019 - Happy Diva (14/1)
2018 - Baron Alco (8/1)
2017 - Splash Of Ginge (25/1)
2016 - Taquin Du Seuill (8/1)
2015 – Annacotty (12/1)
2014 – Caid Du Berlais (10/1)
2013 – Johns Spirit (7/1)
2012 – Al Ferof (8/1)
2011 – Great Endeavour (8/1)
2010 – Little Josh (20/1)
2009 – Tranquil Sea (11/2 fav)
2008 – Imperial Commander (13/2)
2007 – L’Antartique (13/2)
2006 – Exotic Dancer (16/1)
2005 – Our Vic (9/2 fav)
2004 – Celestial Gold (12/1)
2003 – Fondmort (3/1 fav)
2002 – Cyfor Malta (16/1)

Paddy Power Gold Cup Betting Trends

19/19 – Had run at Cheltenham before
18/19 – Had won over at least 2m4f over fences before
18/19 – Won by a UK-based trainer
15/19 – Returned 14/1 or shorter in the betting
14/19 – Carried 11st or less
13/19 – Had won at Cheltenham before
13/19 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
12/19 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
12/19 – Had won just 2 or 3 times over fences before
11/19 – Trained by Pipe (3), Jonjo O’Neill (3), Nicholls (2) or Twiston-Davies (3)
9/19 – Won by a horse in the first 3 in the betting
9/19 – Aged 7 years-old
9/19 – Placed favourites
8/19 – Won this on their seasonal reappearance
5/19 – Won their last race
5/19 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
4/19 – Trained by the Pipe stable
3/19 – Winning favourites
3/19 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
3/19 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
3/19 – Ran at Carlisle last time out
2/19 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/19 – Irish-trained winners
The last winner aged in double-figures was in 1975
Paul Nicholls has saddled 10 placed horses (two winners, Al Ferof & Caid Du Berlais) from his last 41 runners
The average winning SP in the last 19 years is 10.5/1

What are the main Paddy Power Gold Cup trends to looks for?

Track Experience - Having previous experience – including winning form at the Cheltenham track, is a big plus. This is supported with ALL of the last 19 winners having run at Prestbury Park in the past, while 13 of those 19 (68%) had won a race at the track before too. Last year’s winner – Coole Cody – had run a solid second at the track the previous month and was a past winner over hurdles at the course too. He also went onto finish a fine fourth in the Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival last March, so this race is certainly worth looking back on as the season moves on.

UK-Based Stables Have The Edge – Okay, it’s a race that not many Irish runners have contested in recent years - last year we didn’t have any travellers from the Emerald Isle. Therefore, this might not hold a lot of weight once the final decs come out, but it’s still something to consider – a massive 18 of the last 19 winners came from UK-based stables. The last Irish-trained winner was Tranquil Sea (2009) and that the only successful horse from Ireland in the last 30 runnings. As mentioned, the Pipe, Jonjo O’Neill, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls stables have by far the best recent records – with 16 of the last 25 winners between them.

Age - Next up is to look at the age as there is a decent pattern building up here. Yes, three of the last five winners were aged 9 years-old, so we certainly can’t rule out this age group. That said, the better overall record has been with horses aged 8 or younger – a massive 15 of the last 19 winners (79%) ticked this age stat! While if you want to take this trend a bit further it could pay to note that 6 or 7 year-olds have won 12 of the last 19 runnings (63%).

The final thing to note with the age is to look at the other end of the age scale - The last double-figure aged winner was in 1975!

Current Form Recent runs are certainly worth looking at too. with 13 of the last 19 winners recorded a top four finish last time out. But those top four finishes have not always come in a recent race, as horses that are making their seasonal reappearances certainly can’t be ruled out - 8 of the last 19 winners took this first time out.

The lightly-raced, or less exposed runners, also have the better record, with 63% of the last 19 winners having only had 2 or 3 previous wins over fences – again backing up the younger, less exposed chasers, are the ones to focus on.

Weight Carried - With the race being a handicap then weight carried is always worth considering. Of the last 19 renewals, 14 winners (74%) carried 11st or less and this was backed-up again in the last four years with the winners having 10st 5lbs, 10st 6lbs, 10st 11lbs and 11st on their backs.

Betting - The final trend to note is the betting market. It’s generally a race that punters are not too far off the mark in. Therefore, any support for runners in the build-up should be respected and there is also an ante-post market to keep an eye on in the weeks before the race.

Last year’s winner returned at 10/1 and was the fifth shortest-priced horse in the race. 15 of the last 19 winners won at 14/1 or shorter in the betting, while even though the favourites have won just three of the last 19 (16%) we have seen 47% of the last 19 market leaders placed. With the winners tending to be priced 14/1 or shorter, then it’s still the horses in the first four or five in the market that command the most interest.

Things will start to ramp-up several notches in the ante-post market a few weeks before this race and it’s often a contest that we see horses from previous renewals running in again. For example, the 2019 winner - Happy Diva Like last year’s winner – Coole Cody - has run in the last three renewals.

In summary, horses aged 8 or younger, that have had previous track experience and are carrying 11st or less are certainly worthy of second glances. If any of those have run at the track before, finished in the top four last time out and also trained by Pipe, Nicholls, O’Neill and Twiston-Davies yard then you’d be foolish not to stand up and take note.








Coole Cody sights set on further Cheltenham glory

Coole Cody bids to bag his second major prize at Cheltenham this season in Wednesday’s Ballymore Silver Trophy Handicap Chase.

The Evan Williams-trained 10-year-old landed the prestigious Paddy Power Gold Cup in November and has subsequently run three sound races in defeat – most recently finishing a close-up fourth in the Paddy Power Plate at last month’s Festival.

Williams, who won the Silver Trophy with Buywise in 2014, said: “He’s run well all year and I thought it was a very solid effort last time.

“The form of that race looks good – I thought the winner (The Shunter) ran a very good race in the Grade One novice chase at Aintree the other day to finish second, so we’ll give it a shot.

“Buywise was a great old horse for us, but to be fair to Coole Cody, he’s won a Paddy Power Gold Cup, which is one of the the major handicap chases of the year. I think Coole Cody has a little more strength in depth to him, to be fair.

“He goes back to Cheltenham with a good chance. He’ll handle any ground and is a good, tough, genuine horse on his day.”

Coole Cody’s eight rivals include Henry Oliver’s stable star The Big Bite.

Formerly trained by Tom George, the eight-year-old made a winning debut for his new trainer at Aintree in November and has since finished second at Doncaster and third in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.

“He’s in good order and the ground will be fine for him and the trip is fine for him,” said Oliver.

“Most of his form has been on flat, galloping tracks. He has won around Chepstow, which is an undulating track.

“He’s run three solid races for us and likes a bit of time between his races. We’ve minded him a little bit and he’s in good nick.

“I’m very happy with the horse and he’s going there with every chance.”

Dan and Harry Skelton team up with Romain De Senam, while Gary Moore’s Benatar appears feasibly weighted on the pick of his form.

Magic Saint (Paul Nicholls), Pym (Nicky Henderson), Up The Straight (Richard Rowe), Two Taffs (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and Manofthemountain (Emma Lavelle) complete the Grade Two field.

Coole Cody takes on 16 in search of Cheltenham double

Coole Cody will face 16 rivals in his quest to become only the fourth horse to complete Cheltenham’s big handicap chase double in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup on Saturday.

Evan Williams’ nine-year-old lifted the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month and will now try to emulate Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006) as winners of both races in the same season.

The opposition includes Al Dancer, who was third in the Paddy Power, and Saint Sonnet, who fell.

The latter is one of three from the Paul Nicholls’ stable as the Ditcheat handler attempts to improve on his record five wins in the race. Master Tommytucker and Southfield Stone are his other representatives.

Others in the mix include the Venetia Williams-trained Cepage, Brian Ellison’s Windsor Avenue and Chatham Street Lad from Michael Winters’ Irish stable in County Cork.

With a maximum field of 17, there are also two reserves – Musical Slave and Ibis Du Rheu.

Goshen has the chance to atone for his final-flight fall in the Triumph Hurdle when he returns to action for the first time over jumps in the Unibet International Hurdle.

Gary Moore’s exciting four-year-old takes on seasoned campaigners, including the Alan King-trained Sceau Royal, in a 10-runner field.

Williams will be hoping Silver Streak has better luck after being carried out by the loose Not So Sleepy at the second hurdle in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle on his latest start.

Last year’s winner Call Me Lord is one of two runners from Nicky Henderson’s stable with Verdana Blue.

Ballyandy, Song For Someone, Summerville Boy, Ch’tibello and Stormy Ireland complete the line-up.

Summerville Boy, winner of the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, drops back in distance after finishing fourth over three miles in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Trainer Tom George said: “He’s been travelling strongly in his races and there aren’t many two-and-a-half-mile races for him, so we thought we’d step him back to two miles and see how we get on.

“He hasn’t quite been getting home over three miles – he’s too strong a traveller, really.

“I think he might enjoy coming back in trip and he has some very good form at Cheltenham.”

Coole customer O’Brien times it to perfection in more ways than one

Timing is often everything in racing – and Tom O’Brien not only got his fractions right, but secured a victory to thrust him back into the spotlight aboard Coole Cody in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

In what has been a difficult year for everyone in the sport following the coronavirus pandemic, the 33-year-old has struggled more than most with his all-the-way success aboard the Evan Williams-trained nine-year-old in the Grade Three handicap feature at Cheltenham just his ninth of the campaign.

While big-race wins are nothing new to O’Brien, who has tasted Grade One glory in the past, he hopes his latest landmark triumph can transform a season which has been slow to gather momentum into a campaign blessed with further opportunities.

He said: “It’s at the right time (this winner). I’ve gone a little bit quiet on numbers and it just puts you back in the limelight and hopefully I can just kick on from here.

“I’m not riding enough winners to be positive like that (and feel I had the others held). I was hoping for the line to come, but I had a very willing partner.

“To get back going again after the last and keep going to the line was a brilliant effort from the horse.”

Though O’Brien is now able to reflect fondly on the success of the 10-1 shot, it was nearly a case of what could have been had he not sat tight following a shuddering mistake at the fourth fence.

He said: “He slipped at the back of the last (on the first circuit).

“I jumped it right on the inside and that course did not have a big amount of runners on it so the ground is easy on top.

“I thought he was going down, but thank God he didn’t.”

Despite Coole Cody, who was making just his sixth chasing start, being one of the least experienced runners over fences in the field, the 2006/07 champion conditional jockey – who was standing in for the injured Adam Wedge – believed he had plenty in his favour coming into the race.

He said: “He came at it at the right time. He was relatively unexposed over fences though he had good form over hurdles around here.

“The light weight allowed him to do it and there were some very proven horses in behind him with a lot more weight.

“He just got into a good rhythm and I managed to fill him up at the right times and he kept going.”

Coole Cody may have ticked plenty of boxes coming into the two-and-a-half-mile prize, but with the calibre of opposition he was up against O’Brien felt making the frame would have been an acceptable result.

He said: “To be 100 per cent honest I thought he was just an each-way chance just looking at the two-mile-five form Simply The Betts had (from the Festival) and obviously there was David Pipe’s horse (Siruh Du Lac).

“Paul Nicholls’ horse (Saint Sonnet) was an unknown and there was also Mister Fisher. It looked very hot and what I knew I had was the light weight on my side and that was definitely a help when I got into rhythm out in front.”

It is not the first time Williams and O’Brien have joined forces to good effect this season, with the pair combining to take Listed honours with Silver Streak at Kempton last month, and O’Brien believes the Welsh handler deserves his fair share of praise for the victory.

He added: “Evan really got it right. He phoned me this morning and said he is difficult to get up on (as he is a character) and he went through that in detail.

“The position to get, which didn’t go to plan, was I was meant to take a lead off Tom (Scudamore on Siruh Du Lac), but he had all of his boxes ticked anyway.”

Coole Cody makes all for Paddy Power Gold Cup glory

Coole Cody ran the opposition ragged as he made all the running to win the ultra-competitive Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The Evan Williams-trained nine-year-old kept pulling out more to ward off all-comers and land the prestigious handicap chase in determined fashion.

There was early drama when Siruh Du Lac, who was sharing the lead with Coole Cody and Simply The Betts, unseated Tom Scudamore at the first fence.

That gave Coole Cody the opportunity to open up a 10-length lead as the field set out for the final circuit under Tom O’Brien, who was replacing the injured Adam Wedge.

Despite making the odd mistake, Coole Cody (10-1) maintained his momentum as rivals such as Happy Diva and Saint Sonnet came down.

Spiritofthegames (14-1) tried to put in a late bid but Coole Cody would not be denied and went on to score by three and a quarter lengths. Al Dancer (5-1 favourite) was another length away third, with Kauto Riko (50-1) a staying-on fourth.

Williams said: “They are very hard races to win and we are usually second, third and fourth in all these big races – we have been second, third and fourth in them all! But if you keep trying, you’ll get there in the end.

“Wedgy is out injured and it’s a disappointment for him, but Tom has ridden me loads of winners over the years. We have had some bad luck stories here with Tom in the past, so it’s great he’s got a good one on the board.”

The Vale of Glamorgan trainer went on: “We got lucky with a few loose horses at the right time and he just kept him going. It was a bit rough and ready out there, but it’s not a beauty contest. You saw him nearly fall in front of the stands. He was down, but that probably just woke him up.

“I didn’t think he had gone too quick, the horse was pricking his ears down the back straight.

“He can be a funny old horse at times, but when he gets the bit between his teeth and gets rolling, he is a tough horse. I don’t mean he is funny in that he doesn’t want to do it, I mean he is a funny character.

“If he could do things the hard way all the time, he would do it the hard way. If he wanted to do it an easier way he could, but if there were two directions, he would always choose the hard way.

“If he could go to the pub and have a fight he would prefer to do that rather than sit in front of a fire with his slippers. It doesn’t matter what we do now, as he has won a Paddy Power. I don’t care what he does from now on.”

On whether the horse might come back to Cheltenham next month, Williams added: “We will see how things go.

“At the end of the day it is job done as far as I’m concerned with him. If we dropped him back to novice company, he could be dangerous in some of those small-field novice chases.

“There’s some great twos (mile) races around Ascot that spring to mind – two-mile-five, two-mile-three round there could be right up his street, and he doesn’t have to go into big handicaps and get slaughtered, he could tickle away in novice chases because he could be dangerous in some of them.

“As far as his mark is concerned, that is going to get blown out of the water now and he might win a Grade Two. Whether he’s a Grade One horse is debatable, but he could win a Grade Two over fences.”

O’Brien said: “I am absolutely delighted, thank you very much to the Evan Williams team. I’m sorry for Wedgy, who I am stepping in for, but I am delighted to take the opportunity.

“I am a second jockey, my good opportunities are few and far between and I would like to think I take them when I get them.”

Dan Skelton was again proud of Spiritofthegames – and sincerely hope a big race goes the way of the eight-year-old soon.

He said: “He has been second so many times and I thought we were going to win one. To be fair to the winner he pulled out more when we got to him.

“I desperately want him to win one as he has been second and third in all the top handicaps here. He has been a bridesmaid in all off them, just please one day one of them I’d like one to go his way.

“He had a chance, but what more can you say he has only won one chase in his life – he has been a bridesmaid so many times. It is not because he is ungeniune. He puts his heart on the line, the handicapper has his say and there is often a more progressive horse than him.

“I think I will miss the December race as he has had a hard race there and go for the New Year’s Day race. He is entered in the Sefton (at Aintree), but I probably don’t need to subject him to that really.”