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Published: 12:01 | 18/12/15

Village Vic claims Caviar glory

Village Vic led from start to finish under Richard Johnson to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The Philip Hobbs trained eight-year-old made it a hat-trick of wins this term as he jumped perfectly throughout to finish ahead of stablemate Champagne West.

Little Jon, who was sent off favourite, looked to be travelling well before making a blunder under the stands when sitting in second. This left Village Vic clear going to the second last, and although Champagne West and Tenor Nivernais both tried to lay down a challenge, Johnson wasn’t for stopping as he raced on to win by four-and-a-half-lengths.

"He's been a fantastic horse, we thought the world of him as a younger horse, but he had injuries and the owners have been very patient. He's just starting to show the ability we thought he had two or three years ago," said Johnson.

"This is the first time he's really stayed two and a half on a very stiff track, but I always felt like he was going to find a bit more."

He added: "I wouldn't do 10st too often these days, but I always thought he had great chance and it's been well worth the while."

Earlier in the day, More Of That made it two wins from two over fences with an easy win in the Sametegal.

The 1/3 favourite faced just two rivals, but he looked in fine condition as he went around flawlessly to win by 13 lengths, leaving numerous festival options opener to trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

"He's learned a lot from today, which was the main thing," O'Neill told Racing UK. "He never shines at home, but the nice thing about him is that he's always there at the end!"

"He has plenty of two for two and a half, he has the stamina for three, so it's options open. We'll talk to JP [McManus].

"That's the first part of his season dealt with, and now we'll make a plan for where we go from here. From day one of schooling him he's been smashing, so we'll just see how he goes.

"We would have to talk to the boys, but I would not be afraid to stick him in the Gold Cup."

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