Cheltenham: Johns Spirit secures Paddy Power Gold Cup victory

Johns Spirit
Johns Spirit

Johns Spirit gave trainer Jonjo O'Neill his second ever win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

A late surge from Colour Squadron almost pipped the six-year-old, ridden by Richie McLernon, on the line but the 7-1 shot held on to take victory.

Champion Court, the 6-1 favourite, tracked the leaders throughout only to fade, with 20-1 outsider Hidden Cyclone third ahead of Attaglance.

O'Neill previously won the race in 2006 with Exotic Dancer under Tony McCoy.

Johns Spirit settled last in the early stages, and jumped into contention running up the hill where Easter Meteor went strongly at the head of affairs.

Hidden Cyclone and Colour Squadron were both heavily involved approaching two out, but Johns Spirit was kicked into the lead as Easter Meteor fell, impeding Colour Squadron in the process.

Despite the latter running on strongly from the last, Johns Spirit had gone clear and although idling he had enough left to win by three-quarters of a length.

McLernon said: "The fences were narrow enough so instead of going down the inner I went wider than was ideal, but his jumping was brilliant up the hill and he just arrived there.

"Fair play to the little horse, he took it up with a long way to go but he stuck his neck out."

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