Church Island triumphs for Hourigan

Veteran Church Island defied his advancing years to create a 20-1 surprise in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

Veteran Church Island defied his advancing years to create a 20-1 surprise in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

The 11-year-old stayed best of the 19 runners off a searing early pace to triumph for trainer Michael Hourigan and 7lb claimer Adrian Heskin.

Piraya set a very quick tempo in front early on and Heskin chose to take a prominent position, settling in second as the gallop started to sort the men from the boys.

As Piraya just started to toil, Heskin took the initiative aboard Church Island with a mile to go as his rivals began to fall by the wayside.

Church Island was not stopping in front though and while Hoo La Baloo and former winner Lacdoudal tried to go with him, they had no answer as he cleared the last in style and powered away by six lengths.

Hoo La Baloo held Lacdoudal by three and three-quarter lengths for third with 13-year-old Monkerhostin back in fourth.

Joint favourite The Package was putting in his best work at the end from a long way back to take fifth, while fellow 7-1 market leader Fairoak Lad was out of the frame.

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