CHINA ROCK WAS the shock 20-1 winner of the Punchestown Gold Cup at the Kildare track today.
Mouse Morris’ nine-year-old was, of course, making his second appearance at the Festival of the week, having finishing fourth in the two-mile Champion Chase on Tuesday.
Today, he claimed an unlikely five-length win over Follow The Plan, while favourite and long-time leader Quel Esprit was third.
Jockey Geraghty insisted China Rock was a worthy winner. ”He won on merit,” he said. “He jumped and travelled away and just kept travelling.”
“Honestly, as we turned away from the last ditch, I was letting the two lads off in front trying to fill up a little bit (give him a breather) and secure third really, but as we pressed on up to what was the second last, I was travelling better than the two in front.
“He has been competitive in very good races, he has been at this level before but he just hasn’t been of late. Mouse put a tongue tie on him — Ruby rode him the last day and whether he prescribed that or not, I’m not sure but something worked anyway.
“He jumped and he travelled and he saw out the race where he hasn’t been seeing out his races in the past, Mouse told me as it’s been a while since I’ve ridden him.”