Sport

Monday 26 September 2016

Don Cossack headlines all-star cast for post-racing Leopardstown gallops

Published 26/02/2016 | 19:01

Don Cossack
Don Cossack

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Don Cossack is set to be one of the stars on show at the annual post-racing gallops at Leopardstown on Sunday.

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The Foxrock venue plays host to a seven-race card as the season comes down on the track's National Hunt season, but it is the events after racing that may be of most interest to those in attendance.

The fixture has long been used by trainers keen to give their Cheltenham Festival contenders a day out in preparation for the journey across the Irish Sea next month and track officials are expecting plenty of big names to make an appearance.

Gordon Elliott has confirmed Don Cossack will strut his stuff, along with stable companion and the ante-post market leader for the RSA Chase, No More Heroes.

"We'll probably take the two of them for a spin, but they won't be doing anything too serious," said the Cullentra handler.

"I'm not sure how many we'll take as it's a lot earlier than it has been in the past, so we'll see what happens."

All-conquering champion trainer Willie Mullins will also send "a handful of horses", but has not yet finalised plans.

He said: "I haven't sat down and decided what we'll take as yet, but it will probably just be a handful of horses schooling rather than working."

JCB Triumph Hurdle favourite Ivanovich Gorbatov will go towards putting the finishing touches to his preparation for the Festival.

Trained essentially by Joseph O'Brien at Piltown, under the watchful eye of his father Aidan, he needs to put behind him a disappointing run at Leopardstown.

Hugely impressive on his hurdling debut, his Cheltenham claims appeared to falter when only fourth on his next start, but connections were not too downhearted and he has found his way back to the head of the betting.

"He came out of it fine, he might do a little bit at the weekend but he seems in good form. I think the plan is to go to the Triumph, so we'll see how we go," said O'Brien junior.

Leopardstown's chief executive Pat Keogh is looking forward to events both on and off the track.

He said: "We've worked very hard on the quality of the racing on the day and for the first time it's an all-sponsored card.

"We've also arranged a 'meet the stars' gathering with trainers and jockeys an hour before racing. We'll be laying on complimentary tea and coffee for members of the public and it gives them the opportunity to meet their heroes and get pictures and autographs on what is the last day of our National Hunt season.

"As far as the after-racing schooling goes, we're expecting it to be bigger than ever. Willie has always supported us and I would imagine he'll be bringing some of the top horses he will be sending to Cheltenham next month.

"I believe Gordon Elliott is planning to bring Don Cossack and No More Heroes and Enda Bolger is bringing some interesting horses as well."

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