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Cheltenham

  • 14:40 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase 3m 110y

  • (grade 3) £80,000 added 5yo+ 24 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Soft (Good in places, Cross Country Good,Good to Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 10.70s
  • Off time: 14:40:16

Chief Dan George Lifts The Trophy

By Martin Kelly, Press Association Sport.   Last Updated: 16/03/10 5:15pm

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Chief Dan George is led in after his victory.

Chief Dan George is led in after his victory.

Chief Dan George held the late thrust of The Package to land the William Hill Trophy at Cheltenham for Jimmy Moffatt.

Sent off at 33-1 following success in a veterans' race at Doncaster last month, the 10-year-old was handily placed throughout the Grade Three contest and tracked Ogee into the straight.

Just as it looked as though the two of them would fight it out, 9-2 favourite The Package began to engage overdrive after the final fence.

As Ogee tired, The Package went second in the last 100 yards but Chief Dan George stayed on grimly up the hill to take top honours by a head.

The well-fancied Bensalem travelled ominously well throughout but suffered a crashing fall just as he was beginning to make his move at the second from home.Delighted jockey Paddy Aspell said: "He battled and it's all down to the horse.

"Jimmy said if he got in behind horses, he would look after number one but I've asked him questions I shouldn't have been asking him and he's proved it.

"In the back of my mind (I thought I'd won) but you prefer the boss upstairs to tell you.

"It's way up there (in my career achievements). Apart from this, I think my biggest win was something daft like the Scottish County Hurdle.

"I'm a journeyman but days like these, words just can't get it over."

Moffatt added: "When he ran round here over hurdles, it was to put him right because we had been held up with the frost.

"I wasn't surprised at all because he's a good horse but I never thought he was a back number as he's a Grade One winner over hurdles.

"Right now I've got a rush through my system like you wouldn't believe."

Moffatt continued: "That's fantastic, nearly as good as it was 15 years ago when I rode Home Counties.

"Riding you are so focused on what you are doing, it's only past the line when you realise.

"Training is - I jumped every fence. Dad's very busy running my yard and doing a very good job.

"The first person to congratulate me was David Pipe (trainer of The Package). He's a good fella, I've known him for a few years and he's a gentleman.

"We'll have to discuss it with Paddy (Aspell) and Maurice (Chapman, owner). He's in the Grand National, but he probably won't get in there.

"Whether we take in another race at Aintree then go for the Scottish National we'll just have to see what the handicapper does and how the horse is, first and foremost."

Pipe said: "He's very nearly got there and in a couple more strides, I think he would have done.

"He's run a blinder and that happens a lot at Cheltenham.

"He'd be well in if he went for the Grand National after this run, but David Johnson (owner) would have a few possibilities and we'll see what he wants to do."

Renee Robeson, trainer of the third home Ogee, added: "We're very pleased but he wasn't very clean at the last and at one of the others.

"We're all certainly thinking about going to Aintree now."

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