Katenko now 33s for the Gold Cup

Sat 26th Jan 2013, 13:44

photoAidan Coleman
©Healy Racing Photos
Katenko (4/1f) continued his rise up the chasing ranks with a smooth victory in the Murphy Group Chase at Cheltenham.

The seven year old may have been given more to think about if Our Mick hadn't departed at the third last in a race won last year by subsequent Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster.

The pair had locked horns from the top of the hill but the front-running grey jumped markedly to his left at that obstacle, colliding with Katenko and causing Jason Maguire to unseat.

That left Aidan Coleman around 10 lengths clear of the chasing pack and, although one or two still appeared to be travelling quite well in behind, the pair never looked like being caught with the winner's stamina not in doubt as he was dropping back from three miles to two miles five.

Fruity O'Rooney, who, like the winner, was always to the fore, was 12 lengths adrift in second over a trip that was short of his optimum; Nadiya De La Vega was back in third with Tullamore Dew fourth.

A jubilant Venetia Williams says "It's really exciting, we were coming back in trip from Sandown but felt you needed to stay every yard of three miles to be effective up the hill in that ground. All things are open for us now and the Gold Cup is a really attractive option. The ground will be a big factor though."

The winner was cut to 33/1 from 66s by Sky Bet to make a winning return to Prestbury Park in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Might Bite To Prove His Worth Next Season

There is not much attention given to national hunt racing in the summer months, by punters or by the media. It is, of course, understandable given that our attention is focused on the flat season: the action at Royal Ascot, the Classics and the rest of the elements that define the summer racing season. Some punters might have a dabble at an ante post bet for Cheltenham next year, but by and large we forget about it until the autumn.

THE IRISH TIMES