Don Cossack claimed victory in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday as the pre-race favourite held off a late surge from second-favourite Djakadam, to give jockey BryanCooper a famous win. Trained by Gordon Elliott, Don Cossack led an Irish top three, with the runner up and third places Don Poli being trained by Willie Mullins. It was a first Gold Cup win for Elliott, who famously achieved Grand National glory with Silver Birch back in 2007.
Meanwhile, Friday also saw former Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton ride to a fifth placed finish in the Foxhunter’s Chase, in what was a remarkable achievement considering she only started riding a little over a year ago. This year’s Cheltenham Festival certainly lived up to its billing, with thrills and spills a plenty provided by a packed race schedule over the four day event.
Other highlights from the West Country meeting included Thistlecrack winning the World Hurdle in impressive style as well as ten year old Sprinter Sacre surprising the rest of the field on his way to glory in the much coveted Queen Mother Champion Chase. Meanwhile the first day of the festival was all about Ruby Walsh. The veteran jockey secured three opening day victories including guiding Annie Power to a commanding win in the Champion Hurdle.
With the historic Grand National just a matter of weeks away, horse racing fans really are being treated to a feast of action over the months of March and April. Despite news that the start time of 2016’s Grand National has been changed, it is still likely to be one of the most enthralling sporting events of the year with excitement building leading up to the big race. Grand National betting this year seemingly points in just one direction, with reigning champion Many Clouds tipped as the 8/1 odds on favourite with Coral. However, with the famous unpredictability of the race all to evident over the years, the likes of The Last Samurai and Cheltenham runner Don Poli may well be in with a shout come race day.
Having recently been crowned as the leading trainer at the recent Cheltenham Festival with seven victories over the four days, Irishman Mullins will be looking to continue this form heading into the Grand National, with Don Poli his main hope at the circuit which ranges overfour miles in distance. However, with up to forty horses expected to battle it out in what is arguably the most famous steeplechase event in the world, you will write off others at your peril.