Tidal Bay (right), under Daryl Jacob, takes control from Roalco De FargesPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Tidal Bay scores brilliant win in bet365 Gold Cup
Report: Sandown, Saturday
bet365 Gold Cup Chase (Grade 3) 3m51/2f, 5yo+
THE enigmatic Tidal Bay, given a brilliant ride by Daryl Jacob, defied top weight to score a decisive success in the final big chase of the season.
The Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old, who has flattered to deceive on so many occasions, came good this time to land his first win in almost two and a half years.
Sent off at9-1, he took the lead at the last from Roalco De Farges (7-1) and surged clear to win by 15 lengths. Any Currency (16-1) was another seven lengths back in third and Vic Venturi (25-1) fourth.
Only ten of the 19 runners finished the demanding conetst run in soft ground and worsening weather, with 6-1 favourite Le Beau Bai trailing home last. West End Rocker and Major Malarkey, two of the other leading fancies, were pulled up.
Nicholls said: "Three miles has almost been a bit short for him over hurdles and fences. He ran all right behind Big Buck's at Aintree, where I think he would have been second if he hadn't been interfered with on the far side.
"That put him right for today and when it rained it helped him because it slowed them down. He was able to jump well and do everything right. We might go to Auteuil on June 10. They have a hurdle race over 3m3f that might be perfect if the ground is reallydeep."
Tidal Bay, whose last win had been on soft going in the Cleeve Hurdle in January 2010, relished the conditions and Jacob's patient riding.
He took closer order down the back straight on the final circuit and was sent in pursuit of Roalco De Farges going to the Pond fence. Once Tidal Bay drew level, the only question was whether he would go through with his effort and he quickly answered that with a determined effort.
Tidal Bay, under 11st 12lb, was conceding 20lb to the runner-up, which was no mean feat in the testing conditions.
Philip Hobbs, trainer of Roalco De Farges, said: "He ran really well but Tidal Bay was sat behind him cantering and is obviously a very good horse when he produces his best. Early on he wasn't settling, but he's settling much better now.