Annacotty wins Paddy Power Gold Cup
23rd November 2015Ian Popham has put his injury nightmares behind him and enjoyed a well-deserved change of luck riding to a Paddy Power Gold Cup victory on Annacotty at Cheltenham Racecourse.
The 12-1 winner was running his first race for trainer Alan King, after being moved from Martin Keighley' yard.
"That was the most incredible feeling. I thought my career was on its backside," said Popham.
Popham was punching the air with delight as he sailed past the winning post just half a length in front of Buywise. The local jockey was applauded on his return to the winner's enclosure both by the public and also from his teammates, who left the weighing room to show their support for a jockey that has suffered a series of injuries.
"His mother was actually the first winner I ever trained, so I have always had an eye on him and I feel sorry for Martin. The horse was going to move and if I hadn't taken him someone else would", said King, adding, "He dug deep at the end for me and it's a great training performance to win first time up without a run."
Keighley was one of the first to shake King's hand after the race.
As anyone who knows Cheltenham will know, it is often the last that makes the difference, and that was the case with this race. Annacotty finished strongly to beat off Buywise's late thrust by half a length.
Buywise's jockey Tom Scudamore said: "At the top of the hill I thought he would win. He had given me an armchair spin and he jumped brilliantly, the best he ever has, but he hasn't quite finished. It's disappointing but we'll get it right." Buywise has a tendency to flash home late which can be frustrating.
Sam Twiston-Davies has said that he was satisfied with the way in which the Paul Nicholls-trained top-weight Sound Investment rides to finish third.
Twiston-Davies said: "It was grand; he ran really well. He was giving the other two horses a of lot weight, so it was a very solid run. He got it right considering he's carrying 11st 12lb on bad ground. It's horrible, really hard work."