Coneygree is Gold Cup Hero
All the stats were against him. A novice making just his fourth start over fences and a front runner taking on some thorough stayers, but Coneygree belied all of this to take the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup in fine style. Ridden by Nico de Boinville, having his first start in the showpiece, the Mark Bradstock trained 8yo was foot perfect from the front and had enough left in the locker to see off some persistent challengers on the run in.
Connections decided against going the way of the RSA Chase with all the other Novices during the week to take their chance in the big one and what a decision it has proved to be. He was made to fight for the lead early days with the likes of On His Own and Road To Riches keen to get to the front but Coneygree wasn’t going to let them by and he kept that attitude all the way round.
Turning for home, it was the new kids on the block, Coneygree, Djakadam and Road To Riches who were battling it out, with the proven types of Silviniaco Conti, On His Own and Carlingford Lough falling away. Coneygree jumped the last with a length to spare but his two rivals began to rally as the leader began to hang to the right on the run in. He would eventually find a bit more and came home 1 1/2 lengths clear of Djakadam, with Road To Riches a further 2 lengths back in third.
A delighted de Boinville, said: “It’s unbelievable, I am lost for words. The weather gods were looking down on us and the rain came at the right time and it was ideal. He is so deceptive. Even when he is in tight, he is brilliant. It is a great family effort and I just want to thank the owners for keeping faith with me. It’s unbelievable.”
Trainer’s wife Sara, added: “He is brilliant. I have been saying to people, when we win the Gold Cup in the same breath as when we win the lottery. It is that amazing.”
The trainer himself, added: “I am numb! It is wonderful. It won’t sink in for a while but it is great.
“The decision (to run) wasn’t very easy because the forecast was so up and down. The rain was meant to be here Tuesday then Wednesday but it never arrived. I am glad we have made the right decision. He is a gorgeous, gorgeous horse.”
Paul Nicholls, trainer of the vanquished favourite, Silviniaco Conti, said: “I think the ground may have been deep enough for him but he was kind of on and off it. There is no excuses really. He had a good prep and everything was right. He is not the biggest so you would have to say that he might prefer a flatter track and better ground.”
Kevin Walsh / Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
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