Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup
|Grade 1, Cheltenham 15:30
3m 2f 70y, Class 1
|Friday 18th March 2016|
1 Don Cossack 9/4f
2 Djakadam 9/2
3 Don Poli 9/2
NR: Road To Riches (IRE)
9 ran Distances: 4½l, 10l, 7l
TIME 6m 35.00s (fast by 2.00s)
Don Cossack is too strong for his rivals in the Gold Cup. A huge winner for Cooper, Elliott and Gigginstownn Stud
Don Cossack justified 9/4 favouritism, winning by four and a half lengths for owner Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Bryan Cooper.
It was an eighth Festival success for 38-year-old Elliott who won the Grand National with Silver Birch in his first season as a trainer, said: "I'm just so happy for all of us - all the staff in the yard, and my mother and father.
"I'm in a great position; I've got a lot of good owners at the moment.
"I can't believe it! It's unbelievable. I'm delighted for my staff, my family. It's great. To be honest, I need to look at the race again - I was so nervous all the way around. That was something special.
"Brilliant, unbelievable, I can't believe it. I can't thank Michael and Anita and Eddie [O'Leary] and Wendy enough, and all at Gigginstown - they supported me from the start.
"I've never been so nervous in my life. I'm just so happy for all of us, all the staff in the yard, my mother and father.
"It means so much to me to win a Gold Cup. It was something special."
The jockey was understandably delighted after the race.
"I can't believe that's happened - it was over so quick," said Cooper.
"I couldn't believe I was going that easy turning for home. He went to go round again at the bend after the last. He galloped the whole way to the line. He jumped great - he only missed one fence all the way round. Other than that, he was foot perfect.
"Fair play to Gordon and the team, Michael (O'Leary - whose Gigginstown House Stud own the horse) and Eddie (O'Leary - Michael's brother) - they always believed in him and trained him for this race.
"We've put all the doubters away now - they all said he wasn't good enough. All the people who said I didn't get on with him - we've put them in their place today. There's only one day - and this was it. He didn't need cheekpieces on this ground. He might have needed them if it was soft, but not on that ground. We've not quite had one good enough this week but this one certainly was".
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
£575,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 2f 70y, Class 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Don Cossack (GER) 9/4f||B J Cooper
|2nd||4½||Djakadam (FR) 9/2||R Walsh
|W P Mullins||7|
|3rd||10||Don Poli (IRE) 9/2||D N Russell
|W P Mullins||7|
|4th||7||Carlingford Lough (IRE) 25/1||B J Geraghty
|J E Kiely||10|
|5th||nse||Irish Cavalier (IRE) 66/1||P Townend
|Miss R Curtis||7|
|6th||16||Smad Place (FR) 10/1||Wayne Hutchinson
|7th||15||O'Faolains Boy (IRE) 40/1||N D Fehily
|Miss R Curtis||9|
|8th||1½||On His Own (IRE) 50/1||Mr P W Mullins
|W P Mullins||12|
|F||Cue Card 5/2||P J Brennan
|C L Tizzard||10|
|NR||Road To Riches (IRE) 12/1||Non Runner
SECOND AGAIN FOR DJAKADAM AS IRISH SWEEP FIRST FOUR PLACES
Irish stables mopped up steeplechasing's greatest race as Don Cossack led his rivals home in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The runner-up Djakadam, a 9/2 chance, was repeating his placing of 12 months ago - he was beaten four and a half lengths this time, but was 10 lengths clear of his stablemate Don Poli, who, like the winner, is owned by Gigginstown House Stud. Jockey Bryan Cooper, who is retained by Gigginstown, could have ridden Don Poli, but picked the right one.
Willie Mullins, who has yet to win the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, and who has trained the runner-up six times, said of Djakadam, who was ridden by Ruby Walsh for owner Rich Ricci: "We have no excuses - he had every chance from the fifth-last home and jumped as cleanly as he could. He was beaten by a better horse on the day so congratulations to all the connections of the winner.
"Gigginstown invest a huge amount in Irish sport, I'm delighted for Gordon [Elliott, the trainer of Don Cossack] and also for Bryan Cooper. He had a difficult choice to make, and while it may not have looked that way during the race he has been wondering for a month about his choice of rides.
"I would imagine the ground was just too fast for Don Poli - he wasn't able to go the pace. He just stayed on and on and is possibly a Grand National horse.
"It's tough to finish second twice with Djakadam, and it is going to be tough now for him to win one. We'll see, but I would imagine he would stay on this road in a bid to come back here next year."
CUE CARD FINE AFTER HIS FALL
Colin Tizzard reflected on Cue Card's fall at the third last fence when his horse had taken a narrow lead.
The trainer said: "We just thank god that Cue Card got up after the fall. That is championship racing, isn't it - two seconds before that you think here we go - he was slightly in front. He just put down and hit the top of the fence and over he went.
"He is absolutely fine, he's walked away as though he hasn't got care in the world and hardly blowing. There are worst things that have happened.
"Going flat out in a Gold Cup, it will bring mistakes. He hasn't looked like falling in four seasons of chasing. Joe fell off him once.
"He was running a brilliant race - chuffed to have had him for the last six years. He is racing differently nowadays - off the bridle and lobbing along."
Cue Card started at 5/2 second favourite today in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.