Cheltenham: Midnight Shadow wins Paddy Power Gold Cup under Ryan Mania
Midnight Shadow wins at Cheltenham
Midnight Shadow’s jockey Ryan Mania won the Grand National in 2013

Midnight Shadow won the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham under Ryan Mania.

Last year’s winner Coole Cody fell at the second last when leading the field.

The 9-1 winner, trained in Yorkshire by Sue Smith, held on from the fast-finishing Protektorat. Lalor was third, ahead of Dostal Phil.

“This is great. I travelled six hours to be here today and it’s well worth the journey,” said Scottish jockey Mania.

Mania, who won the Grand National for Smith on Aurora’s Encore in 2013, had struggled with his weight and retired from racing aged 25 but returned in October 2019 after a five-year break.

“I’m sure it is emotional for most jockeys but it is especially emotional for me to have retired and come back and do all this for my family. To come down and ride these big winners is amazing,” he added.

Coole Cody, trained in Wales by Evan Williams, looked certain to take a hand in the finish, only to make a dramatic exit at the tricky penultimate obstacle.

Midnight Shadow jumped the last in front but made a mistake and was all out up the hill to hold the late challenge of Protektorat.

“It’s special – it’s special for everyone because we’re only a small yard and northern trainers don’t get to do this very often, so it’s lovely,” said Smith.

She said Midnight Shadow could be aimed at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

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