Baron Alco put in a bold frontrunning display to claim a win in an incident-filled Betvictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham this afternoon.
The Gary Moore-trained 7-year-old built on his fine second at Chepstow on return from a long layoff last time, battling off the game top-weight Frodon up the hill to win for the family operation.
His son Jamie, a late replacement for brother Joshua in the saddle, gave his mount a kindly rub round the ear after pulling the winner up and was full of praise for a horse that came second in the Plate around the course on his last race before that 557-day break.
“He’s only a pony and he’s better off out in front.” he told the ITV Racing cameras. “He had his ears pricked the whole way out the run-in. If a horse comes to him he’ll always rally, he digs deep.”
The 8/1 shot was certainly better off out in front on the day, he managed to avoid the attritional affair featuring a series of falls going on in behind him.
Bryony Frost got her usual tune out of Frodon, who travelled and jumped sweetly and looked well poised to take control of proceedings as the front two wheeled clear of the rest of the field around the home turn, but couldn't pass a game leader.
Guitar Pete stayed on well to claim third and Mister Whitaker, who went of as favourite, making up acres of ground late to claim fourth.
It was the first time that Moore has won the race, scooping a £160k pot in the process, but it took a bending of the ear to get him to even run Baron Alco.
“The horse is all heart, he said, echoing the words of his son. “To be quite honest I was going to take him out, as I thought the ground was quick enough. Thank goodness the owners talked me into running him.”