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  1. #1

    Coneygree Gold Cup Winner


    When Coneygree beat Dell’ Arca in November in the Grade 2 Berkshire Chase at Newbury, my colleague Mark Olley was impressed enough to allocate him a 147 performance figure, the same as his hurdle rating, writes Phil Smith.

    It is very rare that a 140 hurdler can replicate that level in its first chase but the time was excellent and both Dell’ Arca (over hurdles) and the third horse Horatio Hornblower subsequently confirmed the form.

    After Coneygree’s win in the Kauto Star (Feltham) Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, I wrote that I did not know what rating to give him as the race fell apart, but that the time compared well with that of Silviniaco Conti. I admitted that I might have been 9lb too low. The reality is that I was probably more like a stone too low.

    After Saturday’s win in the Betfair Denman Chase I am totally convinced. Both Houblon des Obeaux and Unioniste have solid handicap form against established mature 3m chasers and they were blown away in a stunning time. For me it was the best performance at 3m by a novice since Gloria Victis and I now have Coneygree on 166, which was the mark allocated to Gloria Victis after he won the Racing Post Chase in February 2000.

    Yes, better than Denman as a novice, whose highest rating was 161 after he won the 2007 RSA Chase, which may well be Coneygree’s next race.

    So what can beat him if he does go there? Possibly King’s Palace who remains on 156 after a marginally disappointing run at Newbury – he ran about 5lb below his best. He is clearly better than that. He has also run over fences at Cheltenham whereas Coneygree has not.

    Apache Stronghold, Valseur Lido, The Young Master and Don Poli, who are all over 150, make this year’s renewal of the RSA look a potentially vintage one at this stage. Should Coneygree head for the Gold Cup, however, the benchmark is set at 173, courtesy of Silviniaco Conti.
    Last edited by Old Vic; 27th July 2015 at 05:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    “I spoke to Simon Claisse [Cheltenham clerk of the course] this morning and he said we are due some rain before Friday so I’m edging towards the Gold Cup,” said Bradstock.

    “The ground is the issue so I will walk the course early tomorrow morning and make the decision then.”

    Bradstock is delighted with the eight-year-old, who has yet to taste defeat in three starts over fences.

    “We schooled him this morning and he jumped absolutely super,” the trainer added on At The Races.

    “He’s pretty tough and will take no prisoners. The Gold Cup is very open and I think there are about ten horses who have a similar chance.”

  3. #3
    Bradstock said this morning that they are definitely leaning towards the Gold cup

  4. #4
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    "Hundreds of people came back to the yard with bottles of champagne - our dream is that he's another Denman," said Mrs Bradstock.

    "We might consider the Betfair Chase and the King George for sure, but possibly we will try to win the Hennessy off top weight."

    Before the race the Bradstocks had been told by many they should have kept Coneygree to novice company but Mrs Bradstock told Channel 4 Racing: "He showed them didn't he. He had no idea about statistics or anything. He's the best.

    "I was always completely happy through the race, once he got into a rhythm it was all good. After that he was either going to be good enough or he wasn't.

    "All his family have all been natural jumpers but the concern with him was his long legs, they were too long for his body.

    "He spent a long time jumping poles in the school, though, and now he's good.

    "At the last I was just praying, I could see Ruby (Walsh on Djakadam) was coming but I didn't know if he'd caught us as I ran out out from where I was watching it.

    "It gives everybody hope, you don't need telephone numbers to buy horses and it proves fairytales do come true.

    "Dad would be so proud, all these wonderful horses are down to him."

    Coneygree was ridden to victory by Nico de Boinville and he hailed his jumping and stamina.

    "It will take time to sink in, I'm still laughing and smiling," said De Boinville.

    "He was so measured at his fences. I knew going downhill the first time he had absolutely loads left. I was never worried at any stage and stamina is what he does.

    "I spoke to Dickie (Richard Johnson, who rode Coneygree when De Boinville was suspended at Newbury) and he told to to make sure I saved a bit with the ground being soft.

    "He's so quick over his fences that he takes lengths out of them."

  5. #5
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Sara Bradstock, assistant trainer to husband Mark, said: "We've got the shoe on and things are looking a lot rosier.

    "I'm not promising anything, but it (Hennessy) is now a live possibility.

    "The bruise has gone, but there is still a chance some pus could come out of the foot.

    "There is also a chance the bruise could come back after we gallop him.

    "He'll gallop on Sunday and we'll see how he is after that.

    "We're not out of the woods yet, but we've made a step in the right direction and if things keep going as they are then hopefully we'll get there."

  6. #6
    Stable Fat Jockey mayo's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Sara Bradstock, the Oxfordshire trainer's wife and assistant, said: "He is injured and will not run in the King George or the Lexus. The Christmas run is out.

    "I've just loaded him on to the horsebox myself and he on his way to Newmarket to be reassessed.

    "He is in no distress and walked on to the box sound. The vets at Newmarket will have a good look at him and we'll see what they discover - it will be a day or two before we have any news.

    "They'll probably scan him and we'll see what the extent of the damage is.

    "We know the engine is there, but the long legs that serve him so well on the racecourse are a little bit fragile.

    "Everyone knows I think the world of this horse, which is why we're being careful.

    "There will be no corners cut. He will be back, but at this stage I can't tell you when that will be."

  7. #7
    Morning Glory
    De Boinville said: "He schooled last Friday and did again [on Monday] morning, and seems to like it up there.

    "He feels in great nick so I've got no complaints there. He feels like he did during that fantastic season. We can tell his demeanour by the way he schools and he seems to be schooling very well at the moment, so fingers crossed it's all systems go."

    Thistlecrack 'still has it to prove'

    Doubts over the fitness of last term's Gold Cup winner Don Cossack mean Vautour and Thistlecrack are vying for favouritism, but De Boinville added: "I'd say Coneygree would be in the Gold Cup mix -why not? He's a defending winner so he'd deserve his place there. We've yet to see Thistlecrack over fences so I'm not sure we can talk about him in that calibre just yet."

  8. #8
    Professional Fat Jockey jono's Avatar
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    Sep 2016
    Southampton, Hampshire
    14/10/16 Update

    He's in really, really good nick," he said. "He'll work tomorrow, he just needs a nice drop of rain [before he can return to the course]. He's been jumping super, we took him to Lambourn as they can jump them on an all-weather strip and he was awesome, just awesome!

    Explaining his stable star's nimbleness, headded: "He's like a giraffe, his legs are so long, yet he is pretty cute. To start with he found it quite tricky to get his legs in the right place but when you've got the likes of my son [showjumper Alfie Bradstock], wife [Sara] and daughter [Lily], it does help.

    For the first half of the season Bradstock is working backwards from the King George, run at Kempton on Boxing Day over the same course and distance as Coneygree's first Grade 1 win in the 2014 Kauto Star Novices' Chase.

    We've got three choices, the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, the Hennessy or the Betfair, that's it. The problem is rain, simple as that. If they get no rain at Wetherby or Haydock we might have to go to Newbury, otherwise you have to go straight to the King George as there's nothing else for him.
    Is anyone else thinking the 10's for Coneygree to win the King George is huge? Yes he is fragile but it's an intended target unlike last year where there was the consideration of the Lexus. Although his Kempton run in 2014 was a bit of a farce he still took to the track very well and he'll get the all important soft in the ground he thrives on.

    I'm also very tempted in the Betfair Chase & King George Double at 25's. Although he is very high in my Gold Cup thoughts I'm uneasy betting this early on a horse who is so ground dependant regardless of his injury record so that double looks more more tasty.

  9. #9
    Professional Fat Jockey (Moderator) Istabraq's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    10a is a massive price about a horse with so much ability but the absence and potential lack of prep run is the reason for the quote, if he makes it to Charlie Hall/Betfair and wins head in chest he'll be 4s or shorter, fitness and wellbeing is always the concern...

  10. #10
    Champion Fat Jockey (Moderator) Kevloaf's Avatar
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    Aug 2016
    Nantwich, Cheshire
    Yes, 10s is a massive price. His win in the Kaura Star Novices Chase that year was amazing .... I know a few didn't run to form, but Coneygree wasn't to know that out in front)

    I've just put a little bet on now as an early Christmas present to myself... I will of course get suckered in to backing Vautour closer to the time but that is heart not head haha

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