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Cheltenham: Stage Star holds on to clinch victory in Paddy Power Gold Cup

Stage Star stumbles after the last fence at the Paddy Power Gold Cup before recovering to win
Stage Star recovered from this stumble after a steep landing at the last fence

Stage Star held on to clinch victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The 4-1 favourite was at the front of a leading group heading into the final turn and emerged well clear, with two fences to go.

He stumbled after a steep landing at the last but managed to regroup and stay clear of 7-1 shot Notlongtillmay.

The win is trainer Paul Nicholls' third in the historic handicap, and the first for jockey Harry Cobden at the eight time attempt.

"I'm delighted," said Cobden. "I've always wanted to win it and thankfully this lad got us over the line today.

"I love this horse, how genuine and honest and tough he was," he added.

"I was going so well down to [the last fence]. I was probably in two minds, the horse was probably in the two minds, and we met it all wrong.

"To go from nearly 30mph to walking out the back of it and nearly falling, and then to get going, just shows the true courage that this horse has."

It was the first run of the jump racing season for Stage Star, who has an ownership group of 4,000.

Cobden also led the seven-year-old to victory in the Turners Novices' Chase at Cheltenham last March, and despite their mishap at the last fence, Stage Star ultimately won by four lengths.

"A lot of horses wouldn't have been able to finish [after the stumble] - they would have walked up the hill and finished fourth," said Nicholls.

"But he picked up and galloped on all the way to the line, even after that. He's an improving horse. He's obviously got plenty in the tank. He's a very smart horse."