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Fugitif fights his way home to make Hobson happy at Cheltenham


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  • Run of seconds at Cheltenham ends for trainer
  • ‘He’s a brilliant horse to ride,’ says Gavin Sheehan

For all but the final half-second of the December Gold Cup on Saturday, it seemed Richard Hobson’s long litany of frustrations at the home of jumping would extend into the new year. He arrived with a 0-43 record at Cheltenham that included four runners-up from his past five starters and 11 second-place finishes in all – but left as the happiest trainer in Gloucestershire thanks to Fugitif’s last-gasp success in the day’s feature race.

Even Gavin Sheehan, Fugitif’s jockey, thought he was booked for second at best as they came down the hill still well adrift of a strong pace, which had been set from the off by Frero Banbou and Il Ridoto. Mid-race, it was hard to believe either horse would last home, but while Frero Banbou gave way in the straight it was clear as Il Ridoto jumped the last that Bryony Frost, his rider, had judged the fractions almost to perfection.

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