Coneygree takes Gold Cup glory for De Boinville
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...