Coneygree takes Gold Cup glory for De Boinville

Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:28pm EDT
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By Justin Palmer

CHELTENHAM, England (Reuters) - Nico de Boinville, a professional jockey for barely a year, and unheralded trainer Mark Bradstock landed the most prestigious prize of the English jump-racing season when Coneygree led from pillar to post to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

De Boinville's pass-me-if-you-can tactics in his first Gold Cup ride paid off as the lightly-raced 7-1 chance reveled in the rain-softened ground, digging deep to fend off the fast-finishing Djakadam (10-1) and Road to Riches (8-1).

"Words can't describe it without using expletives. Unbelievable," De Boinville said.

"I always knew I had enough left (to hang on).

"It was a great plan (to go for the Gold Cup). They knew the weather gods were looking down on us -- the rain came at the right time."

Coneygree had a length and a half in hand at the line at the end of two stamina-sapping circuits of the Prestbury Park course, becoming the first novice chaser to win the showpiece since 1974. A horse is deemed a novice if it has not won over hurdles or fences before the start of the season.

Bradstock heads a small family-run stable with his wife Sara in Oxfordshire and they relish taking on the big guns of the jumping world with cheaply-bought horses.

"He's a fantastic horse. We've done it before in smaller races and we will still keep doing it, but it's fantastic to do it on the big stage," said the trainer.   Continued...

Nico de Boinville on Coneygree (L) on his way to winning the 15.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs