Disney denied repeat victory as Baden digs deep for Aprahamian and Henderson
Guy Disney's attempt to win Sandown's Grand Military Gold Cup for a second consecutive year on Rathlin Rose fell just short when the pair were unable to get by Baden and Lieutenant Billy Aprahamian.
Trained by Nicky Henderson, Baden competed in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle last season, but was switched to chasing this season and was gaining a first victory over fences.
The lead for the race changed hands on more than one occasion, but Baden came to the fore down the back straight on the second circuit, and that was where the grey stayed.
Disney kept trying on Rathlin Rose, but 4-1 shot Baden was always holding the 15-8 favourite and scored by a length and three- quarters. There was a further four and a half lengths back to the third, 11-2 chance Midnight Monty.
Aprahamian, who was a former professional polo player and joined the army in 2015, said: "Any day you ride for Mr Henderson is a special day and he was phenomenal. For a novice, I could put so much faith in him. On better ground he'd have more toe.
"For us military jocks this is as big as it gets. To ride in it and win it is very special. Baden's a quality horse so for Mr Henderson to have faith in me on a nice novice is so special."
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