Past Winners » Don Cossack


I am backing Don Cossack for next Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup this morning. I think that he is over-priced at 6/1.

I am reluctant to go against old friend Djakadam, who came so close to doing us a big turn in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he had such a hard race there that it is more than possible he will not have had time to recover before next Wednesday. He is very short at 5/2 for Wednesday’s race.

It is a similar story with Road To Riches, who finished third in the Gold Cup, just two lengths behind Djakadam. The pace that Coneygree set in the Gold Cup on soft ground was unrelenting, it was a really grueling race, and this pair were really the only two who could put it up to the winner. It is probable that all three horses had really hard races.

Of course, Many Clouds was sixth and he came out and won the Grand National last Saturday, but he never really got involved in the teeth of the race. Holywell wasn’t beaten that far in fourth, but he may not have endured the hard race that the first three did, on the sharp end the whole way, and even he ran a little flat at Aintree.

By contrast, Don Cossack bounced out of his Ryanair Chase run at Cheltenham to win the Melling Chase at Aintree by 26 lengths. That was probably the best performance of his career.

He is a seriously talented horse who is still progressing. He shaped in the Ryanair Chase as if he needed further than two miles and five furlongs, and he shaped that way again at Aintree, yet he may not be a Gold Cup horse, he may not be a three-and-a-quarter-mile horse for Cheltenham. So the extended three miles trip at Punchestown should be ideal. He goes well at Punchestown as well. His record there over fences read 2411.

It is a little bit of a concern that he was well beaten at the Punchestown Festival last year, but he got into an early battle with Morning Assembly that day, and the pair of them ultimately faded. There is also a little bit of a worry that he will not have recovered from his Aintree exertions on time. However, he will have had nearly three weeks between races, and that really should be fine. And all those concerns are more than factored into odds of 6/1.

He is an intended runner in the race, Eddie O’Leary said on Monday that both he and Road To Riches are intended runners. There is a chance that Bryan Cooper will ride Don Cossack instead of Road To Riches and, if he does, there is a good chance that he will go off as faovurite. 6/1 is too big at this stage.