Snowden’s Ga Law plan comes good

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Ga Law recorded a poignant success in the Paddy Power Gold Cup for the five members of The Footie Partnership, named after their friend and Cheltenham regular Nick Foot who died from cancer in 2017.

The five friends used to go racing with Foot for years before his death and since then they have sent out several horses with the ambition of having a big winner at Cheltenham. Thanks to Ga Law –by far the pick of their horses – that dream has come true. 

“We came here with Nick for many years and it’s just a great shame he’s not here today – he would have become a grandfather two days ago,” said co-owner Michael Wainwright. “We had to be patient with this horse. He was off the track for a while but was amazing today.”

This was a plan beautifully executed for a talented novice chaser whose upward trajectory was cruelly halted by a tendon injury just before the spring festivals in 2021. That season, he won the Grade 2 Rising Star Novices’ Chase and was third behind Allmankind when tested at the top level in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase in December.

He finished second in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton in February but showed few signs of rustiness when third in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month after 603 days on the sidelines.

That proved to be the perfect prep as the six-year-old had to call on all his stamina reserves to strike late and hold off the challenge of French Dynamite under Jonathan Burke.

“When he got injured during his novice season, I said to the team not to worry because we’ll win the 2022 Paddy Power Gold Cup,” said Snowden. “It’s one thing to say it and another to get him back from injury. We knew off a mark of 142 we had to have a go at this.

“They went hard early on and it took him a while to get into a good rhythm in his first big-field handicap. He was unexposed but inexperienced too on his second start out of novice company. He was low at a few fences but was okay once he found his feet. All credit goes to my head girl Kate Baker, who nursed him back to health.”

Snowden won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014 with Present View, who finished third in this race that year, and hopes Ga Law can reach similar heights, without committing him to a firm target.

“He’s not the finished article,” he added. “He showed a bit of inexperience and there’s things to brush up on. Who knows how good he can be? There’s no set plan but he will step up in trip.”

That chimes with Burke’s assessment of Ga Law, who was delivered late and stayed on powerfully to win by three-quarters of a length from the Mouse Morris-trained runner-up.

“He still hasn’t had that many runs over fences and I had to dig him into a few gaps, but he was tough,” said Burke. “He missed the last two fences but was going for it at the end. I’m delighted for the owners. They have had to be patient as he’s had a lot of time off with injury. It’s a special race and just riding here feels special.”