CHELTENHAM Gold Cup-winning trainer Gordon Elliott was still trying to come to terms with Friday’s big-race success as Gold Cup winner Don Cossack returned to a hero’s welcome on Saturday evening.
Elliott described the day after the night before as “a bit of a daze” as he paraded Don Cossack through his home town of Summerhill near his Capranny stables in County Meath, where the well-wishers included winning rider Bryan Cooper.
“It’s been an amazing 24 hours,” said Elliott, who struck gold with his first ever runner in the Cheltenham Festival highlight. “The horse is taking it all well but I’m a bit in a daze today.”
Despite going on to success at Aintree and Punchestown after running at last year’s festival, Elliott reiterated that Aintree was not on the agenda after Friday’s heroics, where he beat last year’s Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam by four and a half lengths.
The trainer added: “We won’t be going to Aintree again and fair play to the horse for doing what he did last year.”
Ground made up Cooper’s mind
Cooper, who agonised over his decision to ride Don Cossack over last year’s RSA Chase winner and eventual third Don Poli, explained why he opted for Don Cossack in the end.
“It’s rare things work out as well as that,” said Cooper. “On good ground, he is basically able to get into a jumping rhythm, and he’s a different horse. Choosing between him and Don Poli was tough, but the ground made my mind up.”
Don Cossack heads the market for a repeat win in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2017, priced between 5-2 and 6-1 to land back-to-back wins.