Croco Bay snaps up Grand Annual at fourth attempt

Ben Case celebrates victory with Croco Bay

Croco Bay rolled back the years as the veteran caused a 66-1 upset in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

The 12-year-old was always close to the pace mainly set by Gino Trail, before Kielan Woods kicked on two out. It was a matter of ‘catch me if you can’ and Ben Case’s charge was not for stopping.

Bun Doran put in a strong challenge, but Croco Bay, having only his second start since finishing fifth in this race two years ago, stuck to his guns resolutely to win by a length and a half on his fourth try.

Breland D’As was two and a half lengths away in third and top-weight Forest Bihan just another length back in fourth.

Case said: “I’m absolutely delighted. There’s a lot of work gone into him.

“He had a year off the previous year. We brought him back after a long lay-off to run at Worcester. He ran very well.

“We just gave him the winter off and brought him back after Christmas and he loves it round here.

“He’s been third and fifth and the one time I really did fancy him he fell at the water, which was unlike him. He’s made up for it today. It’s fantastic.”