Cause Of Causes gives JP McManus perfect present

Cause Of Causes gave his owner JP McManus a special 64th birthday present when opening his account over fences in the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.

Jamie Codd kept the Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old at the rear of the field for most of the four-mile stamina test before producing him to lead before they steered round the bypassed final fence.

Cause Of Causes (8-1) galloped on resolutely to keep Broadway Buffalo (12-1) at bay by a length and a half and do his Crabbie’s Grand National hopes no harm.

The Job Is Right was five lengths back in third.

What should have been the final fence was omitted due to the fall of Theatre Queen.

Codd said: “It’s just fantastic, to do it for Gordon, who have I been associated with a long time, is fantastic, it’s magic.

“I didn’t know it was JP’s birthday — to do it for Gordon and JP is special.”

Elliott said: “I thought he was going to win here last year (second in the Kim Muir) when he made a bad mistake at the last.

“He was in really good order and he started coming to himself in the last couple of weeks. There was a worry over his stamina, but Jamie rode him accordingly and gave him a great ride. He’s in the National and we will have a look at that.

“It’s great to get a winner on the Tuesday.”

Aintree could also be on the agenda for the runner-up, according to trainer David Pipe.

He said: “He ran a cracker. We thought four miles would bring some improvement and it did. He’s a tough customer and he will run in the Grand National, if he gets in.”

However, it was not all good news for Codd as he given a 10-day ban and fined £400 (€560) after the stewards found him guilty of misusing his whip.

The stewards concluded Codd had used his whip above the permitted level and in a manner that caused his horse to be wealed and he will be notified of the days of his suspension in due course.

Theatre Queen was treated for some time following her fall, on the track and in the horse ambulance.

However, it later emerged that she could not be saved and she was put down as a result of her injuries.

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