On just his third start over fences following a couple of promising efforts at Chepstow and Sandown the Mark Bradstock-trained Step Back finally got off the mark over the bigger obstacles with a wide-margin victory in a lowly Fakenham novice chase earlier this month. A sixteen length win over his four rivals gave the official handicapper the unenviable task of allocating a revised mark to the son of Indian River, in this case an 11lb rise to a rating of 135.
With just 10st on his back in Saturday’s historic bet365 Gold Cup ( formerly the Whitbread Gold Cup ) that new mark proved far too lenient as the mount of Jamie Moore made most of the running to thrash his nineteen rivals, causing his rider to describe the victory as “ a piece of cake, “ words which are likely to send a shiver down the back of the handicapper.
The Bradstocks ( Mark and wife Sara ) operate with only 20 horses, one of which is 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree, and will aim Saturday’s thirteen length winner over Rock The Kasbah at next years Randox Health Grand National, although connections are expecting an element of retribution from the handicapper, with Sara claiming: “ the handicapper might murder us for that but we hope he’s not too mean.”
Step Back after winning the Bet365 Gold Cup pic.twitter.com/VHlfvY1SyU— Thank You Kauto Star (@jane_rainey) April 28, 2018
The winning rider had a day of mixed emotions with Ar Mad, trained by father Gary, losing his life following a fall in the Celebration Chase alongside the injury sustained by brother Josh. Despite winning the last big betting race of the season Moore ended the day in philosophical mood, saying: “ As soon as he hit the floor it looked as though Ar Mad was in trouble and Josh was in trouble. He loved Ar Mad to pieces and his girlfriend Phoebe looked after him, so it’s not nice. It’s nice for me to win the race but today has been a bit of a downer really.”