Hot on the heels of Kauto Star’s victory in the Betfair Chase, Carruthers provided another heart-warming story as he landed an all-the-way victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
While the Kauto Star team are all big names in their own right, Carruthers was representing a relatively unheralded trainer and jockey combination in Mark Bradstock and Mattie Batchelor.
To add to the inspirational tale, Lord Oaksey, retired broadcaster and still the last amateur rider to win the Hennessy, is the breeder and part-owner of Carruthers, although he was not well enough to make the trip to Newbury.
The 10-1 chance was fourth in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup and had looked like something of his old self when third at the same course a fortnight ago.
He rode his luck at times here, ploughing into one or two of the fences and looking in trouble turning for home with a host of challengers lining up behind him.
But Carruthers found a second wind on the long run-in to finish a solid three and three-quarter lengths clear of Planet Of Sound.
It was a particularly poignant moment for Batchelor, as it was the anniversary of his mother’s death.
“He’s a brilliant old horse, last year he was wrong, this year he’s better than ever,” he said. “He doesn’t know when to give up.”
Bradstock said: “You’ve obviously got the King George and the Gold Cup, but the Hennessy is in the top six races you would want to win as a trainer.
“We bought the mare just as a bit of fun for John Oaksey’s retirement and this is her first progeny. We’re just a small yard, but we’ve got good owners and horses like this are a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”
A crack at the Coral Welsh National is now in the offing for Carruthers.
Star turn elsewhere on the card was undoubtedly Big Buck’s, as he registered a record-equalling 13th successive victory in cruising home in the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls’ charge was matching the mark set by Bula as he triumphed for the third time in the race as the 1-8 favourite under Ruby Walsh.
Winning owner Andy Stewart was relieved to see his star performer maintain his brilliant record.
He said: “I was more nervous than I think I’ve ever been in my life. He will now go to Ascot for the Long Walk and then hopefully to Cheltenham for a fourth Ladbrokes World Hurdle.”
Big Buck’s was the third winner of the day for Nicholls and Walsh as Prospect Wells (1-2 favourite) and Rock On Ruby (7-2) had emerged victorious in earlier heats.
Away from Newbury, Donald McCain and Jason Maguire were dominating the action with Peddlers Cross winning again at Bangor before Overturn gained a deserved Grade One victory at Newcastle.
The latter’s brave style leaves him there to be shot at, but he had all the answers this time in the Stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle.