Thinking misses Gold run

  • Last Updated: December 15 2012, 15:07 GMT

Wishfull Thinking is a significant non-runner in this afternoon's Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Wishfull Thinking: Doesn't go at Cheltenham
Wishfull Thinking: Doesn't go at Cheltenham

The Philip Hobbs-trained nine-year-old was set to carry top-weight in the prestigious handicap after securing his first victory in a year and a half in last month's Shloer Chase at Prestbury Park.

However, he has been withdrawn by his connections on account of the testing conditions.

Wishfull Thinking is one of three official non-runners in the race.

Henry Daly's Kingsmere was also taken out due to the ground on Friday, while Ferdy Murphy's Divers was withdrawn as he is instead set to line up at Doncaster this afternoon.

The field is set to be reduced to 14 after Murphy confirmed De Boitron would also be taken out and is instead heading to Doncaster.

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Nicholls said: "It was a good little plan. I was pleased with his handicap mark and he knows how to jump, I thought he might not get a chance in a race like this again.

"Harry gave him a peach of a ride and it's great for him to win a race like this."

Referencing the much-publicised departure of Kauto Star from his yard, Nicholls went on: "After the week we've had, I can assure you I've never had a more embarrassing or unenjoyable week like that in my life.

"I apologise for everything that has gone on and I've never been more embarrassed, so to end it with a win like this is great. Onwards and upwards.

"I backed him last week at 12s but I had to sweat a bit over whether he'd get in.

"It's sad Cristal Bonus has got hurt because I fancied him a bit today as well."

Derham, 18, said: "You've got Ruby (Walsh), Daryl (Jacob) and Ryan Mahon in the stable so there's a pecking order and I was absolutely delighted to get the chance.

"The horse made my life very easy, he's very strong for a four-year-old and I always knew I had a bit left.

"It's a great honour to ride a big race winner here for Mr Hales."

Nicholls added: "He'll have a month off now, I've got novice chasing to go back to if I want and he'll have an entry for the RSA, but the big plan was today."

(reopens) It was later confirmed by Dan Skelton, assistant trainer to Nicholls, that Cristal Bonus had suffered a fatal injury.