Pacha Du Polder (Ryan Mahon) powers clear in the Greatwood Gold CupPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Pacha Du Polder powers to Greatwood Gold Cup
Report: Newbury, Saturday
StanJames Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup (Grade 3) 2m4f, 5yo+
PACHA DU POLDER found plenty for pressure up Newbury's home straight to see off his challengers and provide Paul Nicholls with a big-priced Saturday winner in the hands of 3lb claimer Ryan Mahon.
The six-year-old, sent off at 18-1, made most of the running and powered clear after the second-last fence to score convincingly from Big Fella Thanks, who just pipped Tony Star for second.
However, the result may have been different had the strong-travelling Pepite Rose stayed upright after a crashing fall at the third-last under Aidan Coleman.
Nicholls was registering his fourth success of the afternoon following victories for Michel Le Bon (also at Newbury) and Doncaster runners Toubab and Aaim To Prosper.
Tom Jonason, assistant trainer to the Ditcheat maestro, said: "We are heading into Cheltenham with the horses in great form. This is a pleasant surprise. I say surprise, but he has been waiting for better ground.
"He is a great-looking beast who we have always liked at home. I couldn't be happier. Ryan has given him a peach of a ride, he told me what he was going to do and he has carried it out perfectly."
Mr Gardner and Pacha Du Polder duelled for the lead from the start, and the field remained close in behind for most of the contest.&l t;p>Mahogany Blaze unseated his rider early on and Micheal Flips departed down the back straight.
After the cross-fence, leading fancies Garynella and Pepite Rose began to move menacingly into contention as Pacha Du Polder set sail for home.
He soon had the chasing pack under pressure, bar Big Fella Thanks and Pepite Rose, who tumbled to floor after a untimely mistake.
Big Fella Thanks, under a quiet Paddy Brennan, attempted to close on the leader but he failed to bridge the gap and battled on bravely to snatch second from the strong-finishing Tony Star.