Don’t back Don Cossack for the Gold Cup

riskAnother informative run from Don Cossack today. He has a very awkward action, especially behind where both feet come out almost like a breast-stroking swimmer – he tends to do it more with his off-hind. I suspect it’s this action that makes him tilt his head quite often (much more noticeable rounding bends, or when initially trying to pick up under pressure). His ears go one way, his nose the opposite. At Kempton his nose went left, at Aintree it went right. His long stride too makes it very difficult for him to put in a short one; he can do it, but it tends to break his rhythm and lose him ground. He also jumps quite flat at times, and I think he’s going to need an awful lot of luck at Cheltenham to win a Gold Cup.

He’s a horse I’ve always liked, and I backed him to win the Betfair Million (he did not run in leg 1). But the more I see of him, the more inclined I am to keep my cash in my pocket.

He has a mighty engine, but that action looks even more awkward coming down the hill at Cheltenham. All in all, I think he’s going to find things happening too quickly for him. It’s highly unlikely he’ll get into a rhythm, and he’ll probably belt at least one, and need scrubbing along. I don’t think headgear will make a jot of difference. He strikes me as a most honest horse, and not at all lazy; it’s just that when something happens that requires a quick move from him, he cannot make it; he’s just too big and gangly.

It’s not just errors that cause him problems. When Vautour took it up in the King George and raised the pace, Don Cossack could not go with them and got shuffled back. That pace increase happened as they went into a bend, which disadvantaged him further.

He’ll be a place lay for me in the Gold Cup where I suspect young Cooper will be aboard Don Poli.

About Steeplechasing

Writer, horse-racing fan, cyclist, consultant, entrepreneur. Worked at Aintree, SiS, The Tote, Ladbrokes. Created scoop6. Now run Gamtrain Ltd

Posted on January 14, 2016, in Cheltenham festival 2016 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. In contrast I have never been a fan of this horse and having backed Don Poli in the RSA at 10/1 last season and telling the world and his mother that this would be the one to win this years Gold Cup, I find myself now going off the latter and instead, going with the former.
    Ok, fair enough, I have not seen today’s race, but I doubt that it would sway me back the other way.
    In the King George DC would not have been suited by the track and unlike others, who are certainly more well informed than me, I think he may well have won that race if not for that blunder.
    He was certainly closer to Vautour at the time than in any other part of the race and the one thing he always does is finish off a race strongly.
    I really do believe that Cue Card and Vautour’s battle, would then have been for the runner up spot.
    True the horse can make bad mistakes and in the Ryanair, I think it was last year, he made an almighty error a couple of fences out, but still finished like a train and would certainly have won that and over a distance which only 12 months later, is now too short for the horse.
    I still think Don Poli is the danger as I can’t see Vautour running, especially after shortening up to 13/8 for this years Ryanair earlier this week.
    The horse would be a shoe in for that race.
    So, whilst I respect your judgement, I find, to my own surprise, that I must disagree.

  2. Putting my repetitive nightly nightmare of Cue Card nicking the King George in the last stride to one side, I am still convinced that it will be Vautour not Don Cossack that is the headline act at Cheltenham come March.

  3. Philippa McCluskey

    Spot on!

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