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Tizzard lands another first with Coup Royale; PLUMPTON.

Byline: Graham Dench

THE connections behind runaway Champion Bumper winner Cue Card at last week's Cheltenham Festival were celebrating again after Coup Royale carried the same colours to victory in the maiden hurdle.

Days after landing his first festival winner, trainer Colin Tizzard was toasting another landmark success as the sixyear-old's length-and-a-quarter defeat of Wizard Of Odds, in the hands of son Joe, took him to the 30-winner mark in a season for the first time.

Bob Bishop, whose wife Jean owns both horses, said: "This is a nice horse, and he's just taken a bit of time. He's had a few niggles through growing, and Colin has been patient. He's a big, long-striding horse and I think hurdles annoy him. He already jumps fences at home."

Bishop had good news of Cue Card, who might not have finished for the season. He said: "He's won two out of two without having a hard race and he's come back from Cheltenham in great form."

Richard Johnson was very patient on Hoback Junction in the 2m5f novice hurdle, sitting quietly on the heels of Kiribati King and The Big Orse until approaching the last, when the six-yearold quickened up to win readily by two and a quarter lengths.

Trainer Lucy Wadham said: "Richard was so cool. I was panicking slightly and wishing he'd go on, but he jumped super and showed a nice turn of foot from the last."

The astutely-placed Willandrich made it six wins from his last seven starts, but made very heavy weather of getting up to beat top-weight Art Exhibition in the conditional riders' handicap hurdle.

Trevor Whelan, who has ridden him to three successive wins in the last two months, said: "He's a good, hardy horse, but he didn't like the ground. He just stayed galloping and would have won easier on better ground."

A gamble was landed when Gorgehous Lliege won the bumper after being backed from 8-1 to 11-4 favourite, but the front-running former Irish pointto-point winner Johney Foley made him work hard and there was only a length and a half in it at the line.

The Venetia Williams-trained winner was a first runner in his own name for delighted owner Andrew Brooks, who could not be present but sent the trainer a three-word text as the principals pulled up that said simply "Oh my God".

Deep Pockets gave Bristol trainer Caroline Keevil a third winner from nine runners at the track when outstaying Portrait Royale in the staying chase and scoring by seven lengths.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 23, 2010
Words:422
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