Poker De Sivola Surprise
The Gold Cup Chase, now known as the Bet 365 Gold Cup, was inaugurated at Sandown Park in 1957, and is a National Hunt Chase that is open to horses that are five-years-old and older. It has twenty-four fences, and the Grade 3 event is run over a distance of 5 934 meters. Coming off a win at the Scottish Grand National, it seemed that Poker De Sivola had a good chance in this race, but as the race continued fans were wondering if this wonderful horse actually stood a chance at winning.
Poker De Sivola is trained by Ferdy Murphy and was teamed up with Timmy Murphy as his jockey at Sandown Park. Throughout most of the race, Poker De Sivola dragged behind in eighth position, and his odds dropped as the race wore on. He was still behind when the field entered into the last circuit, and Baby Run looked extremely strong when taking the lead over the Pond Fence. Murphy was, however, able to encourage his mount into sixth place, and many felt that if he could only finish in fourth position it would be a respectable comeback. But Poker De Sivola had other ideas. The final fence was approached, and after clearing it successfully, Poker De Sivola dug deep to be able to catch up to the race leaders, up the hill to the finish line, and take the winning position in a nail biting performance. This left Faasel in second position, with Baby Run in third, followed home by Major Malarkey and Breiry Fox.
Timmy Murphy, the winning jockey, spoke to the media after his miraculous victory and confessed that Poker De Sivola was horse that can be best described as an enigma. He cannot be ridden in a normal fashion and seems to thrive on positive motivation, and enjoys the ultimate challenge. He is known to be a horse that needs to be asked to do something, and does not respond well to being told. Murphy therefore said that giving him a goal, such as passing one horse at a time, gets the best results out of Poker De Sivola, and the more goals he reaches, the faster he gets. It goes to show that some horses are just unique, and it takes more than just iron will to win races.