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Saturday, 10 February, 2001, 15:04 GMT
First Gold unable to shine
Shotgun Willy (r) clears the last ahead of First Gold
Shotgun Willy (r) clears the last ahead of First Gold
Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite First Gold was surprisingly beaten by Shotgun Willy in the Aon Chase at Newbury on an afternoon of upsets.

Earlier, the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Flagship Uberalles, was soundly beaten by Function Dream in the Mitsubishi Shogun Game Spirit Chase.

The Francois Doumen-trained First Gold, starting for the first time in the colours of new owner JP McManus, was bidding for his fifth win in succession.

For the first circuit he jumped smoothly and looked sure to justify being sent off 1/3 favourite in the five-horse race.

But he crashed through the fifth from home and suddenly the race looked more open.

Despite jumping the last four smoothly, First Gold, ridden by Thierry Doumen, was unable to withstand the challenge of Shotgun Willy in the final stages.

Shotgun Willy, under Joe Tizzard, looked to be tiring in the home straight but fought back to secure a shock win for trainer Paul Nicholls.

JP McManus
McManus: upbeat despite First Gold's defeat

Owner JP McManus said he was happy with First Gold's performance, adding that he would come on for the run and was still on course for the Gold Cup next month.

Bookmakers were less impressed, however, with some dropping First Gold back to share favouritism for the Gold Cup with See More Business.

Big race

First Gold's defeat was another good result for the bookmakers but some punters were able to recoup their losses when 4/1 favourite Landing Light landed the big race of the day, the Tote Gold Trophy.

A large field contested Europe's richest hurdle race and turning the corner for home, the race was still wide open.

Landing Light, trained by Nicky Henderson, was cleverly ridden by Mick Fitzgerald and hit the front between the last two hurdles.

Rooster Booster, for whom there had been a good deal of money on-course, briefly threatened but the 11/2 shot had to be content with second place.

Venetia Williams' Milligan - at 20/1 - came third with Hit And Run in fourth.

Landing Light now goes on to challenge Istabraq in the Champion Hurdle.

Another upset

Earlier in the afternoon, another odds-on favourite, Flagship Uberalles, was beaten by Function Dream.

Anthony Ross scored a shock win on Function Dream
Anthony Ross scored a shock win on Function Dream

Noel Chance's horse was 8/13 on to take the Mitsubishi Shogun Game Spirit Chase but jumped poorly, making several costly blunders.

Mary Reveley's mare, Function Dream, was getting nine pounds in soft going from Flagship Uberalles but had the race won two out and came home a 7/4 winner.

Super Coin, a 50/1 shot ridden by Norman Williamson, came third.

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