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The main event at Cheltenham Festival 2016 pits two time winner and Willie Mullins trained horse, Don Poli, against Gordon Elliot trained Don Cossack, in the prestigious Gold Cup.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup
Seven year old Don Poli, trained by Willie Mullins, is saddled by jockey Davy Russell, and carries 5 chase wins and 3 hurdle wins, owned by Giggsintown Stud. No stranger to victory, Don Poli has won at two festivals prior to Cheltenham – the Martin Pipe and the RSA. Although described as ‘a lazy horse’, Cheltenham offers Don Poli the chance to come alive, with £308,279 on offer if he takes the gold.
Left to right - Don Cossack and Tony McCoy.
His opponent, Don Cossack, is the bookies favourite. Aged just 9 years old, Don Cossack carries 11 chase wins on his back, and just one hurdle win. Trained by Gordon Elliot, Don Cossack is saddled by jockey Bryan Cooper, and is 8 pounds higher than adversary Don Poli. Also owned by Giggsintown Stud, the prize money for a Cossack win sits at £579, 902.
Left to right - Bryan Cooper and Don Poli - previous year the Cheltenham Festival 2015
Falling short of Don Poli’s successes, Don Cossack has failed to win at Cheltenham in his two attempts, falling in the RSA Chase two years prior, which created a debate about Cossack’s chances had he stayed on his feet, and scored a third in the Ryanair last year. Jockey Bryan Cooper is well versed in both horses, and sat in a comfortable position of being Giggsintown’s first jockey, given first pick of the horses, a significant factor in the race.
Left to right - Hurricane Fly and Willie Mullins, the Irish champion racehorse trainer.
This head to head race is certainly a clash of the titans, pitting two of the best jockeys and two of the best trainers against each other.