cossack aims to be four-midable

Cracking renewal of Kinloch Brae as Don takes on Champagne

By Niall Cronin

Thurles will play host to their showcase meeting of the season tomorrow afternoon and the 2015 renewal of the Kinloch Brae could be one to remember, despite only attracting a final field of four runners.

Because punters are set to witness a mouthwatering clash between Don Cossack and Champagne Fever with last year's winner Texas Jack thrown into the mix as well.

After making an impressive start to the season, racking up three straight wins, including the Grade One John Durkan Chase at Punchestown, it was thought that we wouldn't see Don Cossack again until he lined up at the start in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March.

However, after toying with the idea of going straight to Cheltenham with his stable star, Gordon Elliott has instead opted to take in tomorrow's Grade Two contest with the eight-year-old, who is one of Ireland's leading challengers for the Cheltenham Festival.

The Gigginstown-owned gelding silenced a lot of doubters in the first half of this season but will have to see off Champagne Fever who reverts back to two miles and four furlongs for this assignment after seemingly failing to get home in the King George at Kempton over three miles.


That put an end to any ambition for connections to go for the Gold Cup with the two-time Cheltenham Festival winner and a view of whether he'll go for the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase could become clearer tomorrow.

Noel Meade, who won the Lexus Chase with Road To Riches, was also looking forward to running Texas Jack in that race, but had to withdraw him on the morning of the race due to a bereavement in the Watson family who own him.

After finishing a credible fourth behind Don Cossack on his seasonal reappearance in the John Durkan, he could prove an interesting contender.