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PONY-SIZED Jocks Cross bloodied his own nose and those of favourite backers as he battled home to beat Moral Support in the Coral Eurobet Welsh National at Chepstow yesterday.

Moral Support went off at 2-1, the sort of price associated with horses like Master Oats and Carvill's Hill, and his backers were still feeling confident as he led the marathon into the final straight.

Heavy going had the field strung out and during the final mile only three horses had any chance.

Defending champion Edmond was the first of those to cry enough as Tony Dobbin made his bid for glory on Moral Support, but Brian Crowley was just about to spoil the party on Jocks Cross.

They went on four out and hard as Moral Support tried, he was never going to peg back the two and a half length winner, despite Jocks Cross bursting a blood vessel in the battle.

"I could see that Tony was getting anxious and I knew that my horse would stay every yard. I only only had to ask him for one final effort," said the winning rider.

An exhausted Edmond was 30 lengths behind in third as the majority of the field pulled up.

"You could not ask for a gamer horse than Jocks Cross," said winning trainer Venetia Williams.

Owner Gill Harrison was half tempted by an Aintree crack afterwards, but Williams is dead against that idea.

"Jocks Cross is just too small to tackle those fences," she said.

Aintree is definitely on the list of possibilities for the brave runner-up.

"We had beaten Jocks Cross last time out, but everyone gets a turn at this game. Moral Support will get an Aintree entry and it won't be long before he runs again," said trainer Charlie Mann.

The French invaders switched their attention from Kempton to Chepstow and kept the winning run rolling with a double for Guilliame Macaire and his jockey Jaques Ricou, though Jair Du Cochet and Imperial de Thaix. The former is now 10-1 for the Triumph Hurdle

Mick Fitzgerald carried on his Christmas run with a Kempton double for Nicky Henderson on Jacko Glasses and Geos, who caught favourite Ashley Park in the shadow of the post in the Christmas Hurdle.

The runner-up finished lame and will miss the remainder of the season at least. Geos is now 10-1 forthe Champion Hurdle.


TRIUMPH:Crowley and Jocks Cross
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 28, 2000
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