Pertemps King George V1 Chase
First Gold burst on to the British racing scene with an impressive victory in the Pertemps King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The French-trained seven-year-old is now be the best chaser in Europe, and very probably the world.
First Gold sailed up the straight, put in a brilliant leap at the second last and romped clear of Ireland’s high-class Florida Pearl.
He won by 10 lengths with the 6-4 favourite, See More Business struggling home in fifth place to give trainer Francois Doumen his fifth success in jumping¨s mid-season classic, following Nupsala, Algan and The Fellow (twice). Only the late and great Fulke Walwyn had trained five King George winners.
First Gold, ridden by the trainer’s son Thierry Doumen, was never going to be beaten once he had cruised into the lead five fences from home. He is now 2-1 favourite for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Owner the Marquesa de Moratalla, whose colours were also carried by The Fellow, was not at Kempton but Francois Doumen telephoned her with news of her horse’s magnificent win and Thierry had a word with her as he rode First Gold back to unsaddle.
Letting out a shriek in French, Thierry punched the air and beamed: “This is an incredibly intelligent horse and a very talented jumper. He is the best horse in Europe at the moment. I am very happy he has done it the way he usually does it.”
Francois said: “This is my biggest pleasure in the race, winning it with my son riding.”
First Gold was backed at 10-1 when the market first opened on the King George amonth ago and the shrewdies who stepped in never had a moment’s doubt.
See More Business was never going like a winner and jockey Mick Fitzgeraldreported: “He didn’t jump. Going out on the second circuit he kept missing and I had to keep picking him up after each mistake.”
How they finished
FIRST GOLD (Thierry Doumen) 5-2 l.Florida Pearl (Ruby Walsh) 11-2 2.Bellator (Norman Williamson) 33-1 3.See More Business (6-4 fav) 5th.