Monday 24 October 2016

Gordon Elliott confident Cheltenham track will pose no problems for Don Cossack

Published 24/02/2016 | 16:36

Don Cossack
Don Cossack

Gordon Elliott feels the track at Cheltenham holds no fears for his Timico Gold Cup hope Don Cossack despite two fruitless visits so far.

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A faller in the 2014 RSA Chase and only third in the Ryanair Chase last year, he is currently favourite for the blue riband.

The trainer is of the belief his stable star is versatile, though, and while jockey plans are still up in the air, he hopes Gigginstown's retained rider Bryan Cooper plumps for his charge over the likes of Don Poli, Road To Riches and Valseur Lido.

"He's had a great preparation, he had a couple of easy weeks after the Kinloch Brae," Elliott told At The Races.

"He's had his first bit of work since, he'll do a couple more and it's all systems go for the Gold Cup. We could do with a bit of dry ground and we're really looking forward to it.

"We worked him in cheek-pieces before Thurles and he went very well but I haven't made my mind up yet, we'll wait and see what the ground is like, if it keeps drying we might leave them off.

"The track won't bother him. He's won right-handed and left-handed, he's won at Punchestown and Aintree.

"The first year at Cheltenham he was travelling well but just let fly at one from outside the wings and fell in the RSA and the following year he was running a lovely race at the top of the hill when he got brought to a standstill and then got squeezed out at the second last.

"I'm not saying he would have won but he'd have been a good second if that didn't happen. I'm not worried about the track, it's just if he's good enough.

"I don't know if Bryan will ride, Gigginstown could have four or five in it so it's a very difficult decision to make. Hopefully he rides him but if he doesn't there'll be plenty of good lads on the sidelines."

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