Poker De Sivola wins for Timmy Murphy at Sandown
Poker De Sivola went from last to first under an inspired Timmy Murphy ride to win the Bet 365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
The 11-1 shot, trained by Ferdy Murphy, trailed at the back of the field for much of the three mile, five furlong race but made a stirring late charge.
Faasel was two and a quarter lengths behind in second, with favourite Baby Run third ahead of Triggerman.
The winner had run in the Scottish National a week earlier, but unseated his rider early on in the race.
In a week when the use of the whip has been fiercely debated in racing, Murphy was given a two-day ban (7 and 8 May) for using his stick with excessive frequency.
The 36-year-old revealed after the race that he had come close to quitting as rides in the big races had dried up, but he has been backed by Poker De Sivola's owner David Johnson.
"When you drive for three and a half hours for one ride, you find it a bit demoralising and there have been times this year when I have considered not continuing," said the 36-year-old Irishman.
"Obviously you appreciate everything you get but this has probably been my lowest total of winners (32) I've had in a season since I was a conditional.
"I appreciate those who have continued to support me, but there have been those who haven't and David Johnson has always been there.
"If it wasn't for him, I'd be gone. These are the days you wait for and luckily we have some nice horses to look forward to and I'm going to go for another season. As long as I've got David, I'll keep going."
Faasel looked the potential winner as he took the lead between the last two fences but Baby Run would not give in and there was still no sign of Poker De Sivola.
However, as the Sandown hill started to take its toll Poker de Sivola stayed on dourly to grab the advantage and land the spoils for his trainer, who sent out Hot Weld to score in 2007.
It was a thrlling climax to the jump racing season, in which Tony McCoy was crowned champion jockey for the 16th consecutive year.
He collected his trophy on Saturday and scored a victory on French Opera, trained by Nicky Henderson, in the two-mile Celebration Chase for the rider's 218th win of the 2010-11 campaign.
For Murphy, his ride in the feature race was a demonstration of his skills in the saddle.
"He's not the most straightforward of horses. He's one of those you have to sort of not try on and kid and the more you do that the more he enjoys it," said the jockey.
"I really enjoyed it and I think he did. He has ability on his day, but doesn't always produce his best."
Delighted owner David Johnson, a backe of Murphy, paid tribute to the rider.
"If he had not unseated Graham Lee in the Scottish National last weekend we wouldn't be here. It was Graham's idea to run after that and Ferdy agreed, so we are here by default really," he said.
"It's a great way to end the season, Timmy gave him a brilliant ride - he is a great horseman and I don't think he gets the chances he deserves."