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Don Poli romps home in RSA

Don Poli recorded victory at the Cheltenham Festival for the second year running, with a tough staying performance in the RSA Chase. Winner of the Martin Pipe Hurdle last season, the Gigginstown owned 6yo was on and off the bridle throughout, as is his norm, but found plenty up the hill to win with plenty hand.


Trained by Willie Mullins, who was recording his fifth victory of the Festival, Don Poli and jockey Bryan Cooper were happy to let The Young Master and Kings Palace take each other on up front. Cooper was made to keep his mount up to his work at the halfway stage but made smooth progress on the outside as his rivals began to struggle.


Kings Palace was still upsides turning for home, but his challenge soon faded and this left it to Southfield Theatre to lay down a challenge to the 13/8 favourite. Don Poli put the race to bed with a spring heeled leap at the last and crossed the line six lengths to the good with ears pricked.


Cooper, who on this day twelve months ago suffered a broken leg, said: “It is unreal. I had such good rides this year, I was hoping to get out and get a win early. I have great help from people around me. My boss Michael O’Leary who has been great to me and the trainers I ride for.”


O’Leary himself added: “Everyone wants to have a winner at Cheltenham. All winter long you are dreaming about having one but they are very hard to come by. We will enjoy these days, they are wonderful.


“He (Don Poli) is a lazy bugger! You see Bryan having to get after him down the back but like a lot of very talented athletes, they only turn it on when they have to.”


Kevin Walsh / Photo: David Davies/PA Wire


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