Paul Nicholls: was winning the race for a third year in a rowPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
West far too good for rivals in Truimph Trial
Report: Cheltenham, Saturday
JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) 2m½f Old Course, 3yo
FAR WEST gave trainer Paul Nicholls a third successive win in the opening contest on Paddy Power Gold Cup day with a good round of jumping proving too much for favourite Vasco Du Ronceray.
Always to the fore under Ruby Walsh, Far West struck for home approaching the home turn and always had the second held. The first two finished a long way clear.
The race quickly went from a competitive event to a two-horse contest as the front two in the market stormed clear of their rivals after jumping the second last.
Barry Geraghty was keen not to get to the front too soon on the keen-going Vasco Du Ronceray, tucking him in behind leader Far West as the pair went into the home straight.
But Far West was dogged and determined and with the rail to help found plenty for his rider up the hill.
Bookmakers were suitably impressed by the winner with both Paddy Power and BetVictor making him the new favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Paddy Power go 8-1 (from 25) and BetVictor 10-1 (from 25).
Nicholls said: "He's improved enormously since Chepstow and I think he'll keep improving. Until we've run a few we don't know what we've got but at the moment he's leading them. He'll come back in a month's time and have another go here."