Cossack may go straight to Ryanair

Don Cossack maintained his unbeaten record this season with a third victory from as many starts in a dramatic renewal of the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.

Cossack may go straight to Ryanair

Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old, a Grade One winner as a novice a year ago, was settled in third by Brian O’Connell but soon found himself in front when Baily Green and Rathlin fell at the same fence, doing Boston Bob no favours.

The 13-8 chance was there to be shot at between the final two fences as Boston Bob and Texas Jack both attacked, but he dug deep to emerge the winner by four and a half lengths.

The Willie Mullins-trained favourite Boston Bob was being niggled at some way out but held second spot, while Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere ran a fine race on his seasonal bow, running on stoutly to take third late on.

RaceBets quote Don Cossack at 8-1 for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March.

Elliott said: “That’s great. He deserves that in fairness to him. He’s always gotten plenty of stick and people have said he’s been disappointing, but he’s a dual Grade One winner now.

“I’ll have to talk to Michael and Eddie (O’Leary), but if I had my way he wouldn’t run until Cheltenham and go straight for the Ryanair. I have to discuss it with the owners as they have a lot of horses. He won’t go to the King George.

“He’s a year older now which makes a difference, but he was never a bad horse last year and things didn’t work out for him.

“He might have had a bit much last year and we’ll try and train him differently.

“He had to do it the hard way today. They all came to beat him, but he picked up and galloped all the way to the line.

“I’d said he’ll go any trip once he relaxes. It was a good performance today and we’re happy.”

Rider Davy Russell was thrilled with the effort of the Jim Culloty-trained Lord Windermere.

He said: “He was a bit sticky early on, but without winning I couldn’t be happier with him. He’ll come on from that.”

Culloty said: “Once he’s OK in the morning, and he hasn’t had a hard time of it, it will be all systems go for Christmas.

“He galloped all the way to the line and didn’t have a hard race.

“Nothing is set in stone because you have to take these races one a time, but the plan originally was the John Durkan, the Lexus, the Irish Hennessy and Cheltenham and at the moment that is still the plan.”

Un Atout suffered an odds-on reverse as he made his return to the racecourse in the Buy Your Go Racing In Kildare Badge Beginners Chase won by Mala Beach, who gave Elliott a swift double. The Mullins-trained six-year-old was having his first start in 590 days – and making his chasing debut – having not run since winning a Grade One novice hurdle at Punchestown in April 2013.

But he made a catastrophic error at the final fence on the first circuit, ploughing through it and then going down on his haunches.

The 5-6 market leader was soon back in the contest, but faded away in the closing stages as Robbie Colgan took charge on Gordon Elliott’s Mala Beach (11-8), who stepped up on his second to The Tullow Tank on his fencing bow as he cleared away to score by 16 lengths from Sumos Novios.

Elliott said: “He’s a fair horse and I’ve always liked him. I think he’ll be even better on soft ground.

“He’s in all the novices over Christmas but I’ll have to chat with Chris (Jones, owner) as he’s away for Christmas.

“He’s a good, big staying horse and the further he goes the better. Something like the four-miler at Cheltenham would do me nicely.

“I know Willie’s horse made a bad mistake, but I think our fella is a nice horse.

“It’s been a good day and it’s nice to get a few winners.”

Mullins did get on the scoresheet as point-to-point winner Livelovelaugh (4-6 favourite) made a winning bumper start in the Old House Kill (Pro/Am) Flat Race under Patrick Mullins.

Mullins said: “He’s a lazy horse. Patrick decided he’d make plenty of use of him if nothing else did, but there was plenty of pace as it turned out.

“He’s a staying type of horse and we’ll probably go for a winners bumper.”

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