Bobs Worth ran out a brilliant winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Newbury.
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Barry Geraghty hugged the inside rail throughout aboard the RSA Chase winner as the horse that followed him home at the Festival, First Lieutenant, helped to force the early pace.
Mouse Morris' charge was still there two out but Bobs Worth moved passed him approaching the last with a loose horse for company.
Neither the obstacle nor the riderless horse posed any problems but Tidal Bay was looming large in Geraghty's wing-mirror but top-weight anchored the veteran who couldn't match Nicky Henderson's runner on the flat.
Paul Nicholls' charge finished three and a half lengths adrift with a further five back to the gallant First Lieutenant with The Package in fourth and Hold On Julio just getting the better of a bunch finish for fifth.
"He was potentially the classiest horse in the race and if he's going to get to the top, he had to win here, but it's mighty nice to win, whatever it holds for the future," said Henderson, whose only other Hennessy triumph came from a similar type of horse in Trabolgan.
"He's so tough, but he makes you sweat as he doesn't do an awful lot. It was only three days ago when I went round evening stables that I thought he was right - it was like a rose coming into bloom.
"He's owned by some of my oldest friends, and it's for them, and Barry, more than anything."
Henderson recently mentioned the Lexus Chase at Christmas as an option for Bobs Worth and his main aim will be to keep the seven-year-old apart from stablemate Long Run.
"Barry has said before that he does need to go left-handed," he said.
"So I would say the King George is out of the equation and it's just a matter of plotting a gentle route back to Cheltenham.
"We've been getting a lot of seconds this week, but then good old Bob comes to the rescue."
Geraghty said: "He loves it, he really does. He's not overly big and you can't ask too much during the race. You just have to let him build and build.
"I was under the collar a lot of the way, but I knew going to the last I had plenty of horse.
"He has a very good pedigree of Jim Bolger's and I bought him as a yearling with my brother. He was not far from the top there. He loves Cheltenham and he loves it round here."
The season so far has been dominated by Paul Nicholls, who had three more on the card here, and last year's Bet365 Gold Cup hero Tidal Bay continues to do him proud.
"If Bobs Worth was going to be a Gold Cup horse, he had to have beaten us getting 6lb," said Nicholls.
"To run like that off a mark of 166 is a great effort and he might go to the Lexus now."
The Leopardstown December highlight is also firmly on First Lieutenant's agenda, as trainer Mouse Morris said: "He ran a cracker. He's a spring horse and would prefer better ground but I won't use that as an excuse. He'll go for the Lexus now."
Already a dual Cheltenham Festival winner in the Albert Bartlett and last season in the RSA Chase, he is now a 5-1 chance from 8s with Sky Bet to complete a remarkable hat-trick in the Betfred Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.
The same firm make him a 10-1 chance from 16s for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.