Double Ross crests a fence under Sam Twiston-Davies on SaturdayPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Double Ross holds off Cantlow for Cup win
Report: Cheltenham, Saturday
Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup (Grade 3) 4yo+, 2m5f
DOUBLE ROSS took the December Gold Cup under an excellently-judged stalking ride by Sam Twiston-Davies, whose mount had just enough left to see off the late challenge of Cantlow.
Colour Squadron, the 9-2 favourite and third home, looked poised for a big effort on the run-in before a mistake at the last put paid to his chances.
The winner, taking just his fourth career success, was one of the last to be produced and sliced through leaders including Easter Meteor, Johns Spirit and Colour Squadron to take the lead approaching the last.
However, JP McManus's Colour Squadron under Tony McCoy had yet to empty his tanks and might have been a major factor in the finish had he not blundered at the crucial moment.
The Paul Webber-trained Cantlow almost gave McManus victory anyway, thundering up the hill as tiredness told on Double Ross, but Twiston-Davies had got his calculations right and hit the post with two lengths to spare over his pursuer.
Winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "Realistically he is only a handicapper but he will definitely carry on paying his way and he will certainly stay further.
"I nearly didn't run him today because he likes soft ground, the softer the better, but it didn't inconvenience him at all.
"The race went superbly for us as the two leaders went off very quick and made it a real test of stamina, which suited us down to the ground. He is very keen himself and it shows how fast they went that he wasn't running away."