Bibby Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup
Grade 1, Punchestown 17:30
€200,000 added, 5yo plus,
3m 1f, Class 1    
Wednesday 29th April 2015

1 Don Cossack 5/2
2 Djakadam 2/1F
3 Road To Riches 4/1
NR: Flemenstar (IRE)
8 ran Distances: 7l, 6½l, 2l
TIME 6m 22.10s (slow by 7.10s)

Don Cossack wins the Punchestown Gold Cup for Gordon Elliott and Paul Carberry and breaks the dominance of Willie Mullins

Don Cossack
© Caroline Norris

Veteran rider Paul Carberry treated the Punchestown crowd to a flying dismount after getting Don Cossack (5/2) up to win the feature race.

A P McCoy had ridden the horse to victory at Aintree and the newly-retired jockey - visiting Punchestown as a spectator - had advised Carberry on tactics.

"I've always loved the horse and it was great to get the opportunity to ride him - it's lucky that AP retired!," said Carberry. "But AP told me how to ride him before the race and it worked out as he said.

"Turning in I was cantering and I put his head down after the second last and then got a good jump at the last. Even though he didn't win at Cheltenham, to go there, Aintree and then here is hard to do. He's a fair one, the way he jumps and to show that turn of foot over three miles.

"I rode Don Cossack up the gallop four or five years ago and said to Gordon [Elliott, trainer] that if he could get 10 more of these in the yard it would be great.

"He is a serious horse and jumped great the whole way. He jumped into the back of On His Own down the back but that allowed me to take a pull and every time I asked him, he answered.

"He will be a Gold Cup contender next year and Gordon went the right route with him this year by not killing him early on. It has worked and fair play to him."

Trainer Gordon Elliott added: "He's always been the apple of my eye and I feel sorry for Bryan (Cooper) but he had to ride Road To Riches after the Gold Cup run. I'm delighted to give Paul a winner as we go back a long way.

"I was nervous about running him but (owners) Michael and Eddie (O'Leary) filled me with confidence so we decided to take our chance. If the horse wasn't happy we wouldn't abuse him.

"They were flat to the boards the whole way around there and I thought that was a better performance than at Aintree. I've no idea if he'd stay the extra distance of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, I'll worry about that next March, there are a lot of races in between."

Owner Michael O'Leary added: "It's marvelous, this is the race we'd most like to this week. It was a great training effort from Gordon Elliott as we were coming back quite quickly after Aintree. The rain came at the right time for him but maybe it didn't help Road To Riches.

"It was a fantastic race. I am very happy with Road To Riches and, with Djakadam there as well, the form seems to have worked out.

"Gordon has managed to find more improvement from Don Cossack. I genuinely thought that this race was coming a little bit soon after Aintree but when you get the right trainer and right horse, anything is possible. Don Cossack is a huge big horse. He was 17 hands over hurdles and as a novice last year and probably had not filled into his frame. Gordon said he is a totally different horse this year and he has been terrific right through the season. He was brilliant at Aintree and again here today.

"Gordon is an outstanding trainer and it is great to win the Gold Cup here in Punchestown. If you can't win the one in Cheltenham, this one is a pretty good replacement."

© Caroline Norris

Willie Mullins, trainer of seven-length runner-up Djakadam (2/1 favourite), said: "He was very keen, he's not been like that before and probably got lit up by going to Cheltenham. But we'll be able to harness that in a good way next season. It was a tremendous training performance by Gordon to keep Don Cossack fresh and improving all season."

Punchestown Gold Cup
€200,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 1f, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Yielding

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Don Cossack (GER) 5/2 P Carberry
G Elliott 8
2nd 7 Djakadam (FR) 2/1f R Walsh
W P Mullins 6
3rd Road To Riches (IRE) 4/1 B J Cooper
N Meade 8
4th 2 Cue Card 12/1 Aidan Coleman
C L Tizzard 9
5th 24 Boston Bob (IRE) 16/1 D J Casey
W P Mullins 10
PU On His Own (IRE) 14/1 P Townend
W P Mullins 11
F Ballynagour (IRE) 9/1 T Scudamore
D Pipe 9
F The Giant Bolster 33/1 Tom Cannon
D G Bridgwater 10
NR Flemenstar (IRE) 25/1 K M Donoghue
A J Martin 10

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