Dead-heat in Cheltenham finale as judge can’t split Elle Est Belle and Ishkhara Lady

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Paddy Power Gold Cup day at Cheltenham had a dramatic ending when a dead-heat was called in the finale.

The judge could not split Elle Est Belle (16-5) and Ishkhara Lady (11-2) in a photo finish following the Listed Karndean Designflooring Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The two-mile contest was run in fading light and heavy rain – and it took seven minutes for the result to be called.

But many racing fans on social media were unconvinced, believing Ishkhara Lady had nosed ahead of her rival on the line.

The daughter of Scorpion traded at 1.01 in the betting on the print.

Trainer Harry Fry had no complaints in the immediate aftermath and said: "We have always liked Ishkhara Lady and it’s lovely to dead-heat with Dan’s horse who also looks nice.

The photo finish divided opinion
(Image: Getty)

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"We are pleased with what she did today and she is a horse to look forward to."

Elle Est Belle took up the running at the top of the straight under Harry Skelton and looked set for glory, only for Ishkhara Lady to battle strongly in the closing stages for Sean Bowen.

Dan Skelton said: “Elle Est Belle is a nice filly.

"She won well at Aintree on her debut and it is nice to win this race in a dead-heat.

"Harry’s horse also looks nice.”

Coole Cody (10-1) overcame some jumping blemishes to win the feature Paddy Power Gold Cup for Evan Williams and Tom O'Brien.

Coole Cody (red/yellow) ridden by Tom O'Brien won the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse
(Image: PA)

Kerry Lee, whose Happy Diva took the 2019 renewal, had earlier struck in the South West Syndicate Handicap Chase with Storm Control (5-1).