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China Rock bounces back for Morris

China Rock made a swift reappearance pay as he triumphed in thetote.com Punchestown Gold Cup yesterday.

Mouse Morris' nine-year-old was making his second appearance at the Festival meeting after finishing fourth behind Sizing Europe in the two-mile Champion Chase at the track on Tuesday.

Stepping back up in trip to three miles and a furlong, Barry Geraghty was clearly cruising aboard the 20/1 outsider as favourite Quel Esprit tried to kick clear turning for home.

Rubi Light went upsides as he made his own bid for glory but Geraghty was biding his time before launching his challenge at the second-last. China Rock picked up in style with last year's winner Follow The Plan the only real threat.

China Rock was sporting a first-time tongue tie and Morris thought it had made all the difference in his quick run back.

"We weren't going to win anything with him at home! He had a problem and we couldn't find it," he said.

"He was travelling well in the Gold Cup and he fell into a hole, he was travelling reasonable enough the other day over two miles and he fell into a hole again; he just wasn't getting home so it was obviously a wind problem."

The John Ryan-trained Foildubh has had a busy campaign and gained a deserved second win of the term, from 11 starts, when battling gamely to win the Guinness Handicap Chase.

Ridden by Paul Carberry, the gelding was headed on the run-in but rallied close home to defeat Carrrigmartin. Ryan said: "He is going out to grass now and we'll bring him back for the Kerry National."

In the AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle, Dermot Weld's Hisaabaat (4/1) with Andrew Lynch aboard saw off the challenge of Ruby Walsh and Ut De Sivola (5/1) in a tight finish to the Grade One event.

Meanwhile, at Sandown, where Aidan O'Brien took the bet365 Classic Trial with Imperial Monarch (11/8 fav), Tidal Bay (9/1) defied top weight in the bet365 Gold Cup Chase to give Paul Nicholls and Daryl Jacob a big-race double.

The talented but quirky 11-year-old settled beautifully towards the rear of the pack early on. He jumped ahead of Roalco De Farges at the final fence and pulled away up the hill to win by 15 lengths.

Roalco De Farges (7/1) was seven lengths ahead of the third Any Currency (16/1) with Vic Venturi (25/1) a gallant fourth.

Earlier, Sanctuaire (9/2) put in a tremendous round of jumping for Jacob to capture the bet365.com Celebration Chase.

Sunday Indo Sport