The Real Whacker still on course for King George challenge

Festival winner was pulled up in Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Patrick Neville remains keen on a crack at the King George VI Chase with The Real Whacker after his stable star finished lame on his seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Having completed a hat-trick at Prestbury Park when narrowly outpointing Gerri Colombe in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Festival in March, the seven-year-old returned to the Cotswolds for the Paddy Power Gold Cup and was among the leading fancies, despite carrying top-weight of 12st.

But after matching strides with the eventual winner Stage Star for much of the two-and-a-half-mile-journey, The Real Whacker weakened out of contention before the home turn and was eventually pulled up by Sam Twiston-Davies, after which his injury was discovered.

The Real Whacker and Patrick Neville last week
The Real Whacker and Patrick Neville last week (Ashley Iveson/PA)

“He got a dirty overreach – he’s OK, but he was a small bit lame after it,” said Neville.

“Sam said he was travelling fierce well and then he realised something was amiss so he stopped and pulled up and looked after him.

“The vet checked him over yesterday morning, he’s fine and was on the water treadmill this morning, so we’ll roll on now for the King George.”

The Real Whacker is a 33-1 shot for Kempton’s Boxing Day highlight, but Neville is confident he can put his comeback run behind him and be back to his best for his festive outing.

He added: “It could have been a lot worse, we knew something was amiss and Sam minded him.

“We’ve got a run into him now and we knew whatever happened he’d improve for the run. We’ve got that over and done with, so we’ll move on and get him ready for Christmas.

“He’ll be big price I’m sure, but I don’t mind.”

Follow us on Twitter racing365dotcom and like our Facebook page.

Race Cards