Bryan Cooper: Strongest ever Gigginstown team heading to Cheltenham with high hopes of big-race success
Bryan : Road To Riches will be my first Betfred Gold Cup ride on Friday and I’m really excited to be riding a horse with such a realistic chance
I have high hopes for a good week at the Festival.
I’ve enjoyed a successful, if short season, for Gigginstown which has its strongest ever team heading for Cheltenham, with high hopes of big-race success.
We’ll be well-represented throughout the week, particularly on Thursday and Friday. And, when I have no other commitment, I’ll be hoping to pick up a few good spare rides.
Road To Riches will be my first Betfred Gold Cup ride on Friday and I’m really excited to be riding a horse with such a realistic chance.
I’ve only ridden Road To Riches once in a race, when he won the Lexus at Leopardstown at Christmas.
Although he wasn’t able to make the running, he did everything right and stuck it out well up the straight to beat last year’s Gold Cup runner-up On His Own.
Noel gave him a short break before beginning his Gold Cup build-up and the horse felt in great nick when I sat up on him recently.
He has improved steadily all season and needs good ground. So I’ll be hoping the rain stays away over the next few days.
He has a live chance and I rate another Irish horse, Hennessy winner Carlingford Lough, a horse with a similar profile, the main danger. And he wants good ground too!
Djakadam is the other improver in the race. But, on what I’ve seen, he looks a heavy ground horse.
Gordon Elliott is bringing a very strong team to the meeting and I’m really looking forward to riding Don Cossack in the Ryanair on Thursday.
He took a heavy enough fall here last year – he just met the fence wrong and paid the price. But he hasn’t done anything like that since and he’s been in really great form this season – he’s unbeaten in four runs.
Don has been jumping well and what has really pleased Gordon and myself is the way he has been finishing his races. I hope it augurs well for his ability to come up the Cheltenham hill.
Lieutenant Colonel has given Sandra (Hughes) two Grade 1 wins this season. And it would be an unbelievable thrill for me if he could win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on Thursday, in Sandra’s first Festival since taking over the licence after her father’s death.
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