God's Own wins second Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter

God's Own returned to winning ways when landing the second Haldon Gold Cup of his career under Paddy Brennan.

Tom George's classy 10-year-old won the bwin-backed Grade Two feature back in 2014, since when he'd won Grade One events at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring of 2016.

Searching for his first success since that Punchestown Festival, God's Own (7/2) took full advantage of a drop in the ratings and return to handicap company to win narrowly from 2/1 favourite Ozzie The Oscar.

Ozzie The Oscar had set the tempo under champion jockey Richard Johnson and, despite a mistake at the open ditch on the far side of the course, still held the initiative coming to the final fence.

Diego Du Charmil and San Benedeto, stablemates representing Paul Nicholls, were effectively beaten off by that point and Ozzie The Oscar got away best from the last but God's Own's class kicked in close home as he reeled in the front-runner to score by half a length.

A clearly overjoyed Brennan punched the air in delight as the pair crossed the line in a race won in the past by the likes of Viking Flagship, Best Mate, Edredon Bleu, Monkerhostin, Azertyuiop and Cue Card.

The winning jockey said: "I had a plan and it pretty much went to plan. I had to be asking him for big jumps a little earlier than I wanted but he's everything I love as he's just so tough.

"I'm really pleased he was able to win and it's lovely when a plan comes off. It's a great race and a great racecourse, I love the place."

"He's been with us since he was four and this is probably the most emotional I've been as a trainer," George told Racing UK.

"He hasn't been easy and to get him back when things have gone wrong a bit last season but for him to pull it back is a fair achievement.

"He loved the better ground, that's the key to him and he was placed in a Champion Chase last season. He's got the heart to do it still and everything was right for him. I've not sure what we do now, we'll just enjoy today."

The well-fancied Diego Du Charmil was last of the five runners, and his trainer Paul Nicholls said: "He took the bulb of his heel and shoe off at the second-last down the back.

"We will be able to run him in six weeks' time, it is not like last year when he got injured at Newton Abbot and was out until the spring."


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