Midnight Shadow survives slip to edge dramatic Gold Cup at Cheltenham

By: Greg Wood at Cheltenham Sunday 14 November 2021
  • 9-1 shot ridden by Ryan Mania wins by less than a length
  • Midnight Shadow slips after jumping final fence

The biggest crowd since Gold Cup day in March 2020 crammed into the stands here on Saturday for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and more than 30,000 fans were gripped by every second and stride of the run up to the famous hill as Midnight Shadow, at 9-1, held-on by just three-quarters of a length from the fast-finishing favourite, Protektorat. “How did you know you were going to hold on right to the line?”, Ryan Mania, the winner’s jockey, was asked shortly afterwards. “I didn’t,” was the honest reply.

As it was on Friday, when Rachael Blackmore performed a minor miracle to stay aboard Gin On Lime, the second-last fence proved to be a turning point in the race. Coole Cody, last year’s front-running winner, had produced a convincing reprise of that performance from the off and he was still going strongly when he clipped the top of the first fence in the home straight and stumbled to the ground on landing.

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