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It's V for victory.

Byline: By Chris Wilson

Our Vic can add to his Paddy Power Gold Cup victory with a famous big-race double in the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup at Cheltenham tomorrow.

Trainer Martin Pipe told anyone within earshot that his charge would follow in the footsteps of Celestial Gold with victory in the Paddy Power last month.

And Pipe's confidence was vindicated as Our Vic, despite being pulled-up twice and a faller on his previous three outings, put up a hugely impressive display in the Prestbury Park contest.

The same cannot be said in this big handicap chase at Cheltenham last December when he suffered a dreadful fall on landing at the last when seemingly in a commanding position.

It was a remarkable training performance to even get Our Vic back on a racecourse after such a bad spill, let alone hone his jumping skills to that of near-perfection at Cheltenham.

Our Vic, who has always had a tall home reputation, is sound proposition to become only the third horse to complete the big pre-Christmas double after Senor El Betrutti in 1997 and Pegwell Bay in 1988.

Nicky Richards' Faasel makes plenty of appeal in the totesport Bula Hurdle.

Faasel was without his regular visor when making his seasonal bow and going down by a short head to Admiral at Haydock last month.

However, he is likely to have the headgear back on for the Bula, with Richards reporting the Triumph Hurdle runner-up to be in great shape following his comeback effort.

Conditions look ideal for the Unfuwain gelding, who is taken to do the business in the Prestbury Park feature.

Bewleys Berry made a most encouraging start to his chasing career with a facile success at Wetherby a couple of weeks ago and he can follow up in the December Novices' Chase.

Howard Johnson has always seen this seven-year-old as a natural chaser and he proved that to be true with a highly-competent display of fencing to win eased down by 12 lengths. The chestnut has masses of scope and he should take the step up in class, and the stiff Cheltenham fences, in his stride.

Nicky Henderson has had a week to forget following the setback suffered by Trabolgan, but life will feel slightly better if The Market Man runs to form in the "Relkeel" Hurdle.

The five-year-old could not have done his job any better at Newbury last month when he clocked up a three-length success over his optimum trip of an extended three miles.

This shorter distance should suit him more and he is also well acclimatised to the testing Cheltenham incline after landing a competitive event in October.

Although chasing is on the agenda in due course, Henderson's gelding can pick up another nice prize here.

Twist Magic can take the Grade Two Play Poker At ladbrokes.com Summit Junior Hurdle at Lingfield

Paul Nicholls has a lot of time for this three-year-old, which is hardly surprising given the demolition job he inflicted upon his rivals at Wincanton last time.

Although the two-mile contest was hardly top-drawer stuff, he still put the potentially useful Pace Shot firmly in his place with a textbook display of jumping.

Despite flopping on debut for Nicholls at Wetherby in October, the former French raider is clearly warming to his task now and should comfortably make sufficient progress stepped up in grade at the Surrey venue.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
Words:565
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