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02 May 12 16:18
Date Joined: 11 Apr 02
| Topic/replies: 1,157 | Blogger: cyclops's blog
Of all the horses I saw last season, the one I would want to take home with me is Don Cossack. I haven't seen a more impressive bumper horse, and, according to his trainer, this is just a shell of a horse who was marking time in bumpers.

First time out, he won at Naas in the heavy, with Nina Carberry hardly moving as he drew clear of some solid yardsticks to win by 18 lengths over 2m3f.

While wide margin, heavy ground bumper victories can be misleading, his win at Navan next time out was staggering, in that he had to show entirely different qualities. Rory O'Moore had been allowed so much rope by the entire field that he was the best part of a furlong ahead turning into the straight, at which point Nina Carberry set sail. Throughout the final four furlongs he was flat out as he chased a leader who had clearly slipped the field, managing to overhaul him shortly before the line. None of the other horses, all winners, got in a blow.

Finally, last month, a trip to Fairyhouse in a good bumper, where Don hosed up again, putting 17 lengths between himself and the field from the turn into the home straight, with minimal effort required from his jockey. He gave Elsie (runner up) 17 pounds and beat her 17 lengths, which compares favourably with Champagne Fever who beat the same horse into second place on Elsie's only other outing, but gave just 12 pounds, and won by 13 lengths. While form equations are of limited value in bumpers, Don Cossack has an RPR of 146, 4 pounds clear of Champagne Fever, and the latter looks top class.

The two questions Don Cossack need to answer are; is he ground dependent and can he jump?

Given his huge size, I don't imagine he'll ever be asked to race on anything firm, but there seems no reason so far why he should be ground dependent. His best performance, Fairyhouse, was on probably the least soft ground he encountered.

As for his jumping ability, the only obvious concern would be that he may need fences to be seen at his best, as he's unlikely to be the nimblest over hurdles.

Having seen Don Cossack win his first bumper, I decided to back him every time he ever ran. Sometimes you see a horse who takes your breath away and, for me, he is that horse.
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Report jasey March 18, 2016 3:41 PM GMT

SIR DON what a beast.
Pay homage to Cyclops
Report unclepuncle March 18, 2016 3:42 PM GMT
unclepuncle 16 Nov 11 14:53
Don Cossack is the Irish novice hurdler I'm most looking forward to seeing (not in any of the betting lists for Cheltenham and may not there go this year).

Looked an absolute machine in his bumper last monthLove

Just in case anyone thought I might have been aftertiming I started my Don Cossack fan club over a year ago.Grin

I can pick em.Cool
Report duffy March 18, 2016 3:44 PM GMT

I feel your pain, getting the forum adulation is more important than the cashWink
Report trigger3 March 18, 2016 3:46 PM GMT
Has consistently been the best staying chaser now for 12 months, the form of the King George was upheld and proved the strongest. It's a pity Cue Card fell to deny a clear cut victory though I think DC would have had his measure. There will be more ifs buts and maybes about Vautour who in my opinion is the only other horse capable of beating Don Cossack. For now though its the day of the Don.
Report jollyswagman March 18, 2016 3:53 PM GMT
well done to all the members of the dc fan club, especially cyclops.
Report duffy March 18, 2016 3:54 PM GMT
Watching the run-in again, I reckon he was dossing.
Report timtin March 18, 2016 3:54 PM GMT
Vautour can dream Devil Sir Don has been the unheralded staying King for 2 seasons and this was his crowning
Report duffy March 18, 2016 3:56 PM GMT
And don poli ran exactly to script too....outpaced and wondering what the fook was happening before staying on
Report Sankara March 18, 2016 3:57 PM GMT
Great thread cyclops, well done.
Report Graeme83 March 18, 2016 3:58 PM GMT
Well done to you guy for keeping the thread going. He deserved it. You guys do aswell.
Report slowerthanjohn March 18, 2016 4:04 PM GMT
Well done to all the Don Cossack fan club especially cyclops! Fair play to you all and lots of humble pie for me, wrong again 😉 Gordon is some trainer!!!!
Report cyclops March 18, 2016 4:06 PM GMT
Feel lumpy of throat and humbled by this superb beast.
Thanks for the kind words guys.
Something more coherent from me later, I hope.
Report wellchief March 18, 2016 4:11 PM GMT
Well done fellas.

Devestated with Cue Card falling, but as I said about the Don in the King George, jumping is the name of the game, so no excuses for him.

I'd love to see Cue Card vs Don Cossack at Aintree or Punchestown this year, before Cue Card begins to decline with age.  It'll be one hell of a rematch.
Report unclepuncle March 18, 2016 4:37 PM GMT
Massive shame that Cue Card fell and that Vautour was rerouted- robbed us of a potenitally epic race.

Not sure any of this years novices look up to Gold Cup class, so with Cue Card surely too old next season it's between the Don, Vautor, Djakadam and ,maybe on really soft ground, Don Poli.
Report RBoyd86 March 18, 2016 4:39 PM GMT
GET IN BOYS!!! Proved what we all knew! Its been some ride, and respect to CYCLOPS thats been on from day 1. Best bit CC getting up. DJACK and DC ran pretty much exactly to pound the punchestown form. So glad we wont have to hear the doubters anymre, reg cheltenham, jumping, end of season form! GREAT DAY, GREAT FESTIVAL!!!
Report RBoyd86 March 18, 2016 4:40 PM GMT
ps well done to mr cooper gave the horse room like he needed, that may be his coming of age ride after a hard week with losing NMH
Report BornToWin March 18, 2016 4:50 PM GMT
Well done backers, you have had your day and no mistake.

Truly gut wrenching for myself, but that is racing.
Report impossible123 March 18, 2016 5:29 PM GMT
Good result, the best horse wins!

Unlucky Cue Card supporters, going really well when coming down. But he's ok, that's the main thing!
Report GT March 18, 2016 8:30 PM GMT
Well done Cyclops and all. Love the horse. Was lucky enough to meet the horse on a stable visit a few weeks back. What a fine specimen Don Cossack is. Different class.
Report jasey March 19, 2016 12:04 AM GMT
Great interview after the race Lydia speaking to Gordon then Bryan.
Look how powerfully Don travelled then put the race to bed in matter of strides with Cooper hardly touching him on the run in.
Report cyclops March 19, 2016 12:36 AM GMT
Well, there are good days and these days.
First off, I feel for Cue Card fans. Before Don Cossack, the horse that last gave me the same buzz early in his career was Ten Plus; in Desert Orchid's Gold Cup, I was stood miserable in the stands as most proclaimed the best race ever. So I feel keenly for Cue Carders, particularly as it may have been his last realistic chance (though not necessarily).
But what a day and what a race. Don Cossack did what many of us have always thought he could; there was not a worry through the race and he really did win easily. Two backhanders between the last two and one up the run-in, as he dossed and looked around. The way he put Djakadam away was consummate. Cooper really only had to keep him going and there was plenty left. His jumping was superb. How many Gold Cup winners have been on the bridle rounding the home turn?
Those who doubted the Punchestown form, and there were many, may need to re-think.
I think Bryan Cooper was excellent and answered those of us who crabbed him in the most emphatic style. He rode him with confidence and style and fantastically well done to him. He's been trained in an old fashioned and masterly way and, as the initiator of this thread, I'm beyond speechless. Money is the least of it but a few quid at 70/1 after the Ryanair and a few more at 40/1 after the Melling will lead to a nice trip to London for my wife and myself for some shopping (hopefully brief) and an extremely long lunch.
Wonderful horses like The Don have the capacity to humble us all. Thanks for the kind words of those who have posted today; if there's no more to come, the fan club has brought pleasure above and beyond, although, with Vautour, Coneygree and, who knows, Douvan to come, The Don may have more chapters to come in what is now the most wonderful career.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 9:01 AM GMT
Come on Cyclops you can do better than that. Much better ways of spending your winnings than shopping in London! Laugh

Good ground next year and he will be extremely difficult to bear. Soft ground and I'm hoping the monster that is Coneygree has got one more huge race in him.

Hoping the Don will come to Aintree for the Bowl, a race that would suit Vautour better than Punchestown imo. If Cue Card is OK, he'll be there too, and I really want Valseur Lido to have a crack at them; the way he flew up the hill I'm the Ryanair was similar to how Don finished in that last year after he'd been hampered.
Report wellchief March 19, 2016 9:02 AM GMT
* difficult to beat, not bear.
Report RBoyd86 March 19, 2016 11:07 AM GMT
ALL TIME great thread!
Report Satrus_Froot March 19, 2016 1:28 PM GMT
Well done Don Cossack fans, believers and backers. Cannot argue with any of it. Top horse.

And Don Cossack vs Cue Card at Punchestown may even get me to splash out on a flight over to Ireland just to see that one match up even though it's been a losing week Grin
Report hitman76 March 19, 2016 2:44 PM GMT
Ching Ching what a day at what a horse.
Report impossible123 March 19, 2016 2:56 PM GMT
DC's next race is likely to be at Punchestown (no Aintree); who could be there, CC and Vautour or Djakadam? If good or good to soft ground, DC for me, if very soft, maybe DP or no bet. A great shame NMH is no longer around to sub for DC on soft/heavy going.

A good day overall for me, and well done all DC fans!
Report cacique March 20, 2016 12:09 PM GMT
well done by the don. good ride from cooper
Report impossible123 March 20, 2016 1:29 PM GMT
Good ride from Cooper: he made sure DC saw every fence before he took off and not afraid to be up with the pace if necessary, very much like the "public" gallop at Leopardstown with No More Heroes (RIP).
Report cyclops March 29, 2016 2:23 PM BST
A few ancillary thoughts, following Don Cossack's finest hour.

Firstly, the headgear saga, orchestrated largely by Matt Chapman, disappeared into the ether. He had been screaming on Racing UK that connections had missed a trick by not trying him out in cheekpieces at Thurles. "Something has to change!", Matt yelled after that win. Watching the Gold Cup, Don Cossack travelled as well as he's ever done. I hope we never see him in headgear, though possibly heavy ground might make Elliott feel the need one day.

Secondly, a Salsify moment wasn't that far away. Twice, the Don yanked his head at almost 90 degrees to look at the crowd up the run-in. Cooper also said he wanted to head off and go round again where the tape was fluttering. He certainly lost concentration for a few strides and credit to Cooper for not panicking when he did so. Just relied on hands and heels and knew there was plenty left.

Thirdly, looking at the race again, how easily he won it. He came under no sort of pressure at any stage until he'd surged away from Djakadam. The reservations many had about his suitability for the course dissolved into nothing, as did the arguments about alleged jumping issues.

Finally, the consensus now seems to be that he's a horse who is "claustrophobic" and doesn't like being amongst horses. Tom Segal started that one. Not many Grade 1 races have that many runners so its not one to focus too much upon. However, all I think that happens is that this is a horse who needs to be organised well in advance of his fences for optimum jumping. At the crucial third last, Cooper rode him for the fence from nine strides out which you can only do if you have a clear view. However, as the horse is now ridden closer to the pace than previously, it should matter if there are many or few runners. If you're sat in third place, it doesn't matter how many you have behind you.

Roll on Punchestown, if he goes there. Will be fascinating to see who runs.
Report timtin April 8, 2016 1:29 AM BST
@cyclops, you forgot to mention the part where Don made a mistake 3-4 out and recovered in just few strides. Regarding your last point about being organised in advance, I also made it some posts back after watching his piece of work before the GC where he jumped so flawlessly because he could see the fences from long way out and could judge them more accurately than when being kept in behind horses.

Looking at yesterday form it looks like Paddy has no reason to be upset for the GC as he would've been behind both Djak and DC. He said on the morning line that the ground was probably too fast for CC anyways so why is he upset for that race? I'm happy he won though as it would've been worrying to see DP win a G1 at this level. Gigis. thought Plodi could win it which is probably why The Don was absent, even though we know from last season he would've easily handled both Aintree and P'town just fine.
Report wellchief April 9, 2016 9:39 AM BST
Looking at yesterday form it looks like Paddy has no reason to be upset for the GC as he would've been behind both Djak and DC

Cannot figure that one out at all, but there you go.
Report impossible123 April 9, 2016 11:40 AM BST
I think it is prudent not to take the form of the Aintree 'Bowl' at face value, why? Djakadam, after a tiring exertion at Cheltenham had to make most of the running, and Don Poli was ridden up with the pace too much and too early - hence both were cutting each other's throat - making the win of Cue Card visually more impressive on stats.

The Puncheston Gold Cup at the end of this month will no doubt confirm who is the better horse, Don Cossack or Cue Card?
Report timtin April 9, 2016 3:04 PM BST
@chief, I get why he's upset because its a question mark and who knows what would've happened, but based on his performance against Don Poli yesterday he would've been behind Djak and DC in the GC and on ground that Paddy himself said it suits CC much better than the fast one encountered at Cheltenham.
Report jasey April 11, 2016 12:46 PM BST
All the DC fan club heard in the build up towards this years Gold Cup was that at Aintree and Punchestown horses are over the top and the form is meaningless.
Cue Card was saved from a lung busting effort at Cheltenham so he was more likely to run his race.
Report wellchief April 13, 2016 6:43 PM BST
Sorry Timtin, I just think that is like comparing apples and pears, using distances beaten on a different course, in a different field, only a few weeks after the Gold Cup.  I would be astonished if Djakadam finished ahead of Cue Card had he stayed up.

We will never know if Cue Card would have beaten Don Cossack, but they would have been the one two, I'm sure.

Cue Card was saved the run in, but he had a hard season and had raced a lot more furlongs this season than Djakadam and Don Poli, so I can't have that he was nice and fresh because he raced 1m less than them in the Gold Cup.  You could have added another 5 lengths to the winning distance if they wanted too.

Btw, Don Cossack was a worthy winner of the Gold Cup, I'm not disputing that.
Report impossible123 April 13, 2016 8:18 PM BST
Why is the Punchestown Gold Cup not considered the appropriate venue for a  credible rematch? Both have had similar number of races and the distance is about that between the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup ie 3m 1f. Let's hope the ground will not inconvenience either eg good. As for Vautour joining the fray I doubt that very much certainly not after a tumble at Aintree despite WPM's musing.
Report wellchief April 13, 2016 9:58 PM BST
There will always be a doubt about end of season form in my eyes, no matter who wins (some may disagree I know).  You know that they are trained to the day for the King George and the Gold Cup, not Aintree and Punchestown.  Whoever loses at Punchy will have the "he was probably over the top" line from the jockey/trainer afterwards.

I don't think the Aintree race was representative about the distance between Cue Card and Djakadam, like I didn't think it was between Don Cossack and Cue Card last year.

I'll hold my hands up and say yes, sometimes Aintree and Punchy form works well, but I think a lot of the time it doesn't.  The fields are often smaller, and not ran at a Cheltenham pace.

Petit Mouchoir gaining 10 lengths on Beveur Dair, Apples Jade 45 lengths on Gorbatov etc.  Sometimes the results seem too good to be true.
Report impossible123 April 14, 2016 9:32 AM BST
There will always be a doubt about any race for any horse at any time as horses are not machines hence cannot to relied about to perform to the best of their abilities at the drop of a hat eg going, travel, incidents in the race, etc. Nonetheless, there usually is a more consistency in the running of the more important races eg Derby, Gold Cup, etc, as the horses do not generally tend to be overrun by trainers.

I cannot say the same for Djakadam and Don Poli if they turn up at Punchestown later this month as they did have an extra hard race at Aintree and not running accordingly eg the former was virtually making most of the running and the latter ridden too close to the front than usual ie cutting each other's throat, hence the exaggerated winning distance of Cue Card, in my opinion.

On the other hand should DC and CC make it to Punchestown - forget Vautour - 3m 1f at Punchestown is 1.5f shorter than the CGC distance plus no uphill finish this will be more to the liking of CC than DC in my opinion given CC's unproven/suspect stamina at 3m 2.5f; if DC beats CC at Punchestown DC should/will beat CC again at Cheltenham, all things being equal, and that I can confidently predict.

As for Petit Mouchoir (PM) and Ivanovich Gorbatov (IV) the ground was the absolutely key ie PM revelled in the soft ground at Aintree whilst IV hated it compared to their performances at Cheltenham.
Report impossible123 April 24, 2016 4:30 PM BST
What an about turn in fortunes/luck for Gigginstown? The Cheltenham Gold Cup and double Grand National winners, the lost of No More Heroes through injury and now possibly Don Cossack who might not run again for the same reason.

From two credible bullets for the Gold Cup to probably none - what a cruel game horse racing could be especially for the horses!
Report Satrus_Froot April 24, 2016 8:27 PM BST
A massive shame. Makes the Punchestown Gold Cup lose a lot of it's interest and quality now. It's gone from being spectacular to a near non event.
Report cyclops April 25, 2016 11:10 AM BST
If this is the end for Don Cossack - either literally or if injury compromises future efforts - then supporters can at least be thankful that he had five almost uninterrupted seasons, through the course of which he rose to the pinnacle. Not many manage that.

My own belief is that we still hadn't really fathomed the depths of his ability; nothing had really given him much of a race over the past two seasons other than in the much discussed Ryanair and the inconclusive King George. As a true staying chaser, his runs last year at Punchestown and last month at Cheltenham were stupendous. It wouldn't be stretching a point to say he'd become as good a stayer as we've seen this century..

The regrets will be that we almost certainly won't see a meaningful decider with Cue Card and neither will The Don get the chance to repel the Mullins chosen contenders for next season's Gold Cup, nor perhaps Thistlecrack.

The vibes seem a little contradictory - Elliott said he hoped to see him later next season in one quote but O'Leary's comments imply that at least a season on the sidelines beckons. We'll probably hear shortly if next season is remotely achievable.
Report p_r_e_m_i_e_r__f_a_n_t_a_s_y April 25, 2016 11:38 AM BST
It wouldn't be stretching a point to say he'd become as good a stayer as we've seen this century..

get a grip ffs
Report cyclops April 25, 2016 11:50 AM BST
Your nominations, premier?
Report Eeternaloptimist April 25, 2016 12:35 PM BST
It's all opinions cyclops but I couldn't see him putting up a performance like that of Kauto in the King George which brought him a stellar rating or a weight carrying feat like Denman's second Hennessy. He wasn't even able to prove he was the best of this less exalted generation.
Report timtin April 25, 2016 12:39 PM BST
He's certainly put the best 2 performances of a staying chaser in the last 5 years and in the last 25 years there's only Kauto's `09 KG thats rated 5-6 pounds higher but if he had been around in that time KS wouldn't had won any GCs because Don would've simply outstayed him. Its a shame he doesn't receives the recognition he deserves from general public.

There's always a question mark with tendon injuries regardless how small they are at first but I tend to look positively and think that by next season GC he'll be back, already with a prep run in January or early February. Come to think about it, if his connections hadn't been so protective and sent him to Aintree like last year this might've never happened who knows. Also his trainer saying no chance going for the KG makes me think if he does indeed comes back we woulnd't have missed anything in the first part of the season anyway because he would win mickey mouse races in Ireland so hopefully he fully recovers and gets back his form by next years GC.
Report cyclops April 25, 2016 12:46 PM BST
With you there, timtim, perhaps unsurprisingly.

I intentionally said "stayer", meaning in excess of 3 miles. I wouldn't claim Don Cossack would scoot around Kempton as effectively as Kauto Star but the latter's record over greater than 3 miles was two wins from 8 starts, with his best effort being a decisive win over a heart problem affected Denman in his second Gold Cup.

As for next season, I think you're very optimistic; tendon always seems to mean a year off at best.
Report impossible123 April 25, 2016 1:52 PM BST
I'd like to see Don Cossack attempting another CGC but my head says very unlikely as horses seldom reproduce their best form post a tendon injury especially jumpers for obvious reasons. What a shame for the horse - so much potential after rotten luck last year - and all concerned. Maybe we ought to consider ourselves lucky to witness DC comprehensive win in the CGC.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 25, 2016 10:23 PM BST
He's certainly put the best 2 performances of a staying chaser in the last 5 years

Which performances would those be timtin?
Report timtin April 25, 2016 11:32 PM BST
last year Aintree romp and this year's Gold Cup
Report Eeternaloptimist April 26, 2016 12:47 AM BST
I wanted to give you the floor to make your case but I was fairly certain you'd cite those performances and fine ones they were to. Last year's Aintree performance was staggering but it was over a speedsters trip. Nothing staying about it. It's a flat course suited to stellar performances often by the likes of Sprinter Sacre. The Gold Cup was a good performance but what did he beat when Cue Card exited so unfortunately? Djakadam on ground not soft enough and Don Poli just ridden for a place. Both those horse were buried by Cue Card at Aintree with his cocck hanging down his leg.

We missed a race at Cheltenham which would have gone a long way to settling the issue but for me an official rating of 177 about his Gold Cup performance is about there. Could he have done more if pressed? Almost certainly but that still leaves him a good way behind the very best.
Report timtin April 26, 2016 1:53 AM BST
correct, the Melling Chase is a speedster's race but Don is in fact a stayer and I said he put the best performances of 'a staying chaser' because I wouldn't want to start comparing him to SS or MM.

The official ratings are a joke. Just in the Melling Chase, he had 1, 2, no.. 3, wait 4, no actually SIX horses with ratings ~160, beating them from 26 to 70 lengths and yet the official mark only got as high as 171 ! In every serious handicappers book that was easily an 180+ performance and it took them another 5-6 races to correct themselves and even now 177 doesn't do him justice. The official ratings are only worth as much as the individual capacity of the handicapper that assigns those ratings and they often get it wrong. They gave Cue Card an 172 rating for beating a completely out of form Silviniaco Conti by 7 lengths then raised him to 176 for beating a out of novice horse in Vautour for a head beating. Vautour who's best efforts in open company are beating Ptit Zig by 2 and Valso Lido by 6 lengths. If thats a measure of a 176 horse then Cossack should be 190+ by those same standards. But no, because Cossack wasn't surrounded by hype they're treating him very conservatively...
Report timtin April 26, 2016 2:06 AM BST
Just another point regarding handicappers. As much as I despise Timeform for what they're doing with some hype horses especially Douvan in recent times, giving him an inflated rating for beating substandard novice opposition, they are fortunately more right than wrong and I'm glad to see Cossack in the top 10-13 Chasers of all time on a 183 mark, same as Denman and Master Oats. Who knows how much bigger he would've got without the injury and if he had taken part at Aintree and Punchestown this year..
Report cyclops April 26, 2016 10:00 AM BST
Master Oats? Oh dear.

Backing up your point about Aintree, the RP just couldn't accept the evidence of the race, nor could the official handicapper. An RP rating of 181 meant that, firstly, the other six horses in the race ran 5,6,10,20,18 and 37 pounds below form, secondly that the winning distance of 26 lengths was reduced to 23 (on the pound per length basis they always operate on) and, finally, they made no allowance at all for the fact that Don Cossack was heavily eased on the run-in, while the second and third were ding dong all the way to the line. That performance was as good as any we've seen in recent times and, yes, had a Vautour or Douvan produced it, Arkle talk would have abounded.

Having ridden him at Aintree AP McCoy had no doubts as to his quality and was adamant he would win the Gold Cup.

Similarly, Don Cossack has twice put Djakadam away with ease, which no other horse has done, excepting when the latter was clearly under par (5 lengths ahead of Dynaste). Three absolutely top performances, backed up by plenty of dismissals of the second division.
Report impossible123 April 26, 2016 1:06 PM BST
What had happened to Don Cossack was very unfortunate, but it could have been much worse had it happened during the Gold Cup race at Punchestown - the result that befell No More Heroes could have have been replicated given the speed that horses could be travelling towards at that stage of the race.

Has any chaser with a tendon injury come back and race to its previous best form once again? If no, I think it'd be best to retire Don Cossack (DC) as he has nothing more to prove having beaten Djakadam, Road To Riches and Don Poli convincingly; DC's fall in the King George after making up ground to be level with Cue Card (CC) - the eventual winner - was inconclusive as to whether he'd have beaten CC, however, on his every run towards the line when infront after the last DC had never been beaten, hence, a mighty chance DC would have beaten CC in the King George in my opinion.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 26, 2016 6:08 PM BST
Similarly, Don Cossack has twice put Djakadam away with ease, which no other horse has done, excepting when the latter was clearly under par (5 lengths ahead of Dynaste). Three absolutely top performances, backed up by plenty of dismissals of the second division.

That performance in The Melling was staggering but given everything else the horse has done it doesn't seem unreasonable to conclude that his competitors did run below form. As for Djakadam's performance at Aintree he paid the price for trying to win the race as to some extent did Don Poli. Three out they were 15-20 lengths clear of the stragglers including Dynaste. The bottom line is that Cue Card destroyed them all and Brennan was rubbing the horses ears up the run in.

Don Cossack has been a tremendous performer and at his best outstanding but he was no Kauto and arguably Denman. In my view of course.
Report Satrus_Froot April 26, 2016 8:27 PM BST
Didn't Simonsig suffer a tendon injury? Made a very good fist of it today although admittedly he was a 7yo when he got injured and probably would have put that field to bed on the bridle 2 or 3 years ago.

Really hope he can make it back in time for another crack at the gold cup but you can only fear the worst when a tendon goes.
Report timtin April 26, 2016 8:56 PM BST
Yes but today on ATR Gordon Elliott said he'll do easy canters as soon as October and if all goes well they'll attempt GC. We'll see but like I said I retain all hope even though it could be career ending in most cases.

@EO Kauto is also no Cossack who's developed into a outstanding stayer in these last few years, quite 2 different horses but in terms of ability over 3m+ I know who I'd have my money on.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 26, 2016 9:50 PM BST
I knew you'd see sense eventually. Being a stone clear does concentrate the mind and after all Don did beat a horse not as suited to the ground as last year and another ridden like the race was over 5 miles. Still a Gold Cup is a Gold Cup. You can't take it away from The Don or indeed Cool Ground. Wink
Report timtin April 26, 2016 10:25 PM BST
I see what you've done there Wink but Kauto only once in his career put a performance ~8 pounds better than Don and that was in the 2009 KG. The rest they have basically ran to the same ratings and beyond 3 miles there's only one winner in my mind and that is categorically The Don.
Report cyclops April 26, 2016 11:46 PM BST
timtim, didn't catch the Elliott interview but sounds more encouraging. Did he say much else?
As you said, with the KG not part of the plan, anyway, a Spring campaign would be fine. Supporters can only hope its not the end.
Report timtin April 27, 2016 12:05 AM BST
not much, just that they'll know more in October how he's going with the recovery and if they're pleased then its go ahead for the GC.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 27, 2016 12:15 AM BST

Given your comments about pounds and ratings it confuses me somewhat you taking exception to the mark he's been given. The bottom line is he's racing in a slightly higher than average era for staying chasers and as top dog his rating of 177 is fully warranted. However, Kauto regularly exceeded that rating and as the yanks say that's all she wrote.

Don is good but Kauto was just different class. Maybe Don could have stepped up and given Kauto a race but we'll never know. What we do know is he'll be virtually forgotten in ten years time but Kauto will be remembered for decades.
Report timtin April 27, 2016 12:32 AM BST
@EO, I hope you're not confusing the official mark(attached to the horse) to the performance individual race ratings. I remember Matt Champan also had a hard time understanding the difference and BHA's Paul Smith was the one doing the explanation :)

In any case I already argued the major flaw of the official rating for Don Cossack which is simple and can be seen on how long it took them(5-6 races) to get near his real current rating, even though Don put up couple of 180+ performances along the way starting with Aintree last season.
Report timtin April 27, 2016 12:37 AM BST
Kauto may be a popular horse but he got beat alot of times and Don in the last 2 seasons only once got beat. I don't see much difference in their class over 3m+ and like I said over the GC trip I'd have my house on Don every single time.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 28, 2016 11:41 AM BST
He did get beat that's true. Don has been an admirably consistent horse but you do have to question what he's beating. There's no Denman, Imperial Commander etc and the form of the Gold Cup is looking a bit leaky. That was a golden age. At a push this may be a bronze one. Shame we didn't get to see him and Coneygree going at it but then maybe the ground would have been more in favour of Don and he could have won anyway.
Report impossible123 April 28, 2016 11:51 AM BST
The best and most competitive race that Don Cossack ran in was the King George last year when he fell when upside Cue Card and challenging. He probably would have won had he stayed up because he would have gone past Cue Card - the eventual winner - and challenging Vautour coming to and/or after the last - Don Cossack had never been beaten when infront after the last. In the Gold Cup (Cheltenham and Punchestown) Don Cossack beat Djakadam and RTR comprehensively.
Report timtin April 28, 2016 3:42 PM BST
I don't remember Imperial Commander being a world beater, certainly not in the class of Cue Card for instance. Denman was a bit of a freak but it only lasted up to his injury when he beat the crap out  of KS, after which it took him another full season to come back somewhat to his best to win the Hennessy under top weight, which again took something out of him and never regained his pre-injury form.
Report timtin April 28, 2016 3:58 PM BST
Speaking of flawed official ratings, I like how 7-8 years ago the handicapper hyped anything that had 4 legs and raced against Kauto, spiking ratings 10-15 lbs up or down, nowadays they rarely exceed 7 pounds when putting a horse up, normally 4-5 pounds, presumably the damage control is cleaner if they get something wrong which probably happened alot in those days. That handicapper either got fired or has learned his lessons by now Happy
Report Eeternaloptimist April 29, 2016 12:01 AM BST
On his day Imperial Commander was very special. He just wasn't that consistent. Cue Card has been admirably good but the Gold Cup form has taken a dig following Aintree and now Punchestown.
Report cyclops April 29, 2016 9:53 AM BST
Depends how you interpret it.
Carlingford Lough and Irish Cavalier could be viewed as underpinning it.
Report Govan Spoonful April 29, 2016 3:37 PM BST
According to Michael O'Leary in today's Times, Don Cossack is unlikely to race again.
Report impossible123 April 29, 2016 4:21 PM BST
That's a great shame. If so, Happy Retirement Don Cossack!
Report Howdi April 29, 2016 9:21 PM BST
cyclops • April 29, 2016 9:53 AM BST
Depends how you interpret it.
Carlingford Lough and Irish Cavalier could be viewed as underpinning it.....absolutely.///After Cheltenham they are knackered imo you cant trust Punchy form.
Report wellchief April 30, 2016 9:36 AM BST
Can't say bad things about Punchy form on this thread Howdi.

Also Don Cossack over Kauto Star? I'm not sure if I've just read that correctly? Don Cossack? Over Kauto?

Now I think I have read everything.
Report cyclops April 30, 2016 9:50 AM BST
Don't think anyone's said that wellchief.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 30, 2016 8:35 PM BST
I don't see much difference in their class over 3m+ and like I said over the GC trip I'd have my house on Don every single time.

timtin is like St Peter. Not once did he deny Kauto. Not twice but three times.
Report timtin May 1, 2016 4:52 AM BST
did you just compared Kauto with Jesus ? Crazy Laugh I think you're proving my point reg. his fans who think he was unbeatable, he wasn't, he got beat lots of times and Denman at his best kicked his ass... Happy Easter!
Report Eeternaloptimist May 1, 2016 8:04 PM BST
Not at all. I'm comparing you with St Peter. Laugh
Report cyclops May 11, 2016 1:15 PM BST
It's a long time til jumping takes centre stage again so I thought I'd check out whether my assertion that Don Cossack was as good a stayer as we've seen this century stood up.

There have been 40 performances this century that have been rated 175 and more by the Racing Post (I've included the Betfair Chase when it was only 2m7f and the odd other one just short of 24f). It's possible I've missed the odd one.

191   Kauto Star
185   Kauto Star
184   Kauto Star, Denman
183   Denman (Twice)
182   Kauto Star, Don Cossack, Imperial Commander
181   Kauto Star, Don Cossack, Long Run (3 times)
180   Kauto Star, Denman, Don Cossack, Cue Card (3 times), Long Run
179   Bob's Worth
178   Kauto Star, Denman, Don Cossack (Twice), Cue Card, Best Mate, Coneygree, First Gold
177   Imperial Commander, Kicking King (3 times)
176   Kauto Star, Denman, Cue Card, Best Mate
175   Kauto Star, Coneygree

So the only horses to appear more than twice are:

Kauto Star       9
Don Cossack      5
Cue Card         5
Denman           5
Long Run         3
Kicking King     3 

So I think Don Cossack has very much earned his place at the top table.
Report cyclops May 11, 2016 2:01 PM BST
Should have read Long Run 4.
Report cyclops May 11, 2016 2:02 PM BST
And Denman 6! Can't count today.
Report cyclops May 11, 2016 2:24 PM BST
And, just to round off the survey, these are the top chasers this century over all distances, in terms of the number of times they exceeded 175.

Kauto Star          17 times from 31 starts
Sprinter Sacre       8 from 18
Don Cossack          7 from 19
Cue Card             7 from 24
Denman               6 from 19
Master Minded        5 from 25

Obviously, Cue Card and, hopefully, Don Cossack, could have the chance to improve their tallies. Maybe puts into context the "Golden Age" comments.
Report cyclops May 11, 2016 3:15 PM BST
Think my brain has gone soft.
The 1.15 post was meant to read 40 performances at 3 miles or more. Plenty more at lesser distances.
Report Eeternaloptimist May 11, 2016 10:16 PM BST
So leaving the other contenders to one side we can answer the question. No he isn't as good as we've seen this century.

Kauto is clear.
Report cyclops May 12, 2016 12:19 PM BST
Yes and no eeternal.

Yes, in that Kauto Star posted a series of performances that no other horse has come near to matching, although Don Cossack has matched his record of seven successive 175+ performances.

No, in that I deliberately emphasised "stayer" and over distances in excess of 3 miles, Kauto Star posted a modest 2 wins from 8 starts, albeit they were two Gold Cups.
Report Howdi May 15, 2016 10:47 PM BST
Kauto Star 'modest'....and the Beatles were **** too Cool
Report impossible123 May 17, 2016 7:12 PM BST
Any update on The Don? Hope he's not too distressed.
Report Howdi May 17, 2016 9:25 PM BST
^^^ Easy list now , going to have a look in October and make a decision on his future (vibes 70-30 you won'y see him race again).
Report cyclops May 19, 2016 10:43 AM BST
Looks slightly more rosy after yesterday's comments by the trainer, and it seems unusual that he could be working again six months after a tendon injury but at least hope has not yet gone.
Report Howdi May 19, 2016 3:19 PM BST
thanks for the update.
Report Catch Me ifyoucan June 2, 2016 11:01 PM BST
Michael O'Leary was not very positive on Newstalk Breakfast radio this morning with Ivan Yates saying "tendon injury usually takes 2 years to fully recover - he's 9yo - so unlikely to come back as good as he was at 11yo".

Great interview, worth a listen...
Report cyclops June 4, 2016 6:08 PM BST
I think O'Leary is very much a pessimist when it comes to his horses. I hope Elliott's comments are more relevant to this particular injury than O'Leary's about tendon injuries in general. As ever, the way the market twitches as the summer proceeds will probably be the litmus test of how he's progressing.
Report impossible123 July 18, 2016 4:50 PM BST
Any further news on The Don's tendon injury, anyone? I hope The Don is recuperating well and not in any major discomfort; I also hope the correct decision will be made in due course.
Report cyclops January 11, 2017 1:24 PM GMT
And so we draw to a close.
We never got to relish the build up to a clash between Don Cossack and Thistlecrack and his greatest moment will remain his last moment.

Those of us who get great pleasure from latching onto a horse, following him through good and bad and seeing him reap the ultimate prize can't be too sad, though there will always be the frustration that even better could have followed.

I think Don Cossack, once he'd fully matured, was as good as just about anything we've seen in recent times. In his last two seasons,(rated top staying chaser in each, as well as top intermediate chaser in 14/15)he was barely extended. His only two reverses were in the notorious (for him) Ryanair and when he fell in the King George. While Cue Card fans are entitled to their opinion, I have no doubt The Don would have beaten him easily in both the King George and the Gold Cup had the falls not occurred. The thought of him being outstayed in the latter race is hardly credible, given that he was one of the easiest winners we've seen in that race for years.

The sight of Don Cossack demolishing the field in the Melling, surging clear in a red hot Punchestown Chase and, of course, cruising home in the Gold Cup will live with me, though the scene will be so much poorer without him. A classic example of a staying chaser being given time to grow into himself, almost a throwback to old fashioned days, learning his trade and developing into a magnificent chaser.

Happy retirement, Don.
Report Can't Catch Me January 11, 2017 1:49 PM GMT
Fair play cyclops, you identified this fella early doors. As you say, nothing better than one catching your eye and see them go all the way.
Report Roger The Butler January 11, 2017 8:15 PM GMT
Was never a fan of the horse myself (not knocking him, he was just never one of my horses) but had him as the clear pick for last year's Gold Cup and in combination with On The Fringe won me a massive double that smashed my previous best, so I will always remember him very fondly.

Happy retirement Don, you have earned it.
Report cyclops March 2, 2017 11:51 AM GMT
As this year's Festival approaches, I thought I'd bring this thread up again in the light of the Bryan Cooper interview in today's RP.

Would he still have won had Cue Card stood up? “Definitely," comes the instant answer. "My fella did not do a stroke when he got to the front. He had loads left. I was left in front far too early. I thought Djakadam would take me further but he couldn't and I had to go.

"I didn't want to hit the front until after the second-last. I know there are some people who think Cue Card might have won but if I'd had something to take me along for further, I'd have absolutely bolted up.

Paddy Brennan may or may not think differently,and certainly some Cue Card supporters have made some bold statements, but the above certainly tallies with how I saw the race; perhaps the easiest Gold Cup winner I've seen.
Report jasey March 17, 2017 3:58 PM GMT
How far would Super Don have won by
Report bigH March 19, 2017 7:46 PM GMT
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