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Thursday 25 May 2017

Tizzard tops betting for the gold cup

Bryan Cooper celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Don Cossack last March. Pic: Sportsfile
Bryan Cooper celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Don Cossack last March. Pic: Sportsfile

On the day that the reigning champion, Don Cossack, was retired, 38 other names were revealed among the list of entries for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The name of Don Cossack does appear alongside the early acceptors, as the race closed earlier in the week, but following news of his injury setback yesterday, it was Colin Tizzard who unsurprisingly dominated the entries. He is responsible for the top three horses in the betting with some firms.

Thistlecrack is the current clear favourite for National Hunt racing's blue riband event and the Tizzard-trained duo of Native River and Cue Card are next best with the bookmakers. Their stable companions Alary, a recruit from France who is yet to race for Tizzard, and long shot Theatre Guide, complete the five from the in form stable that feature.

With Don Cossack already ruled out due to his retirement, 16 Irish, four of which are trained by Elliott, are in contention.

Willie Mullins, who has yet to win the prestigious race, has just two entries, with the Rich Ricci pair of Djakadam and Vroum Vroum Mag. Champion Chase favourite Douvan didn't even get an precautionary inclusion.

When speaking about Don Cossack's retirement yesterday, Elliott rued the missed opportunity of a mouthwatering clash with Thistlecrack but made his intention known that he'd be aiming to "find something else to beat him" and Lexus Chase hero Outlander now looks his chief candidate.

All of Elliott's entries are Gigginsotwn House owned, with Don Poli, Empire Of Dirt and Roi Des Francs joined by the Henry de Bromhead-Trained Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido and Noel Meade's Road To Riches and Wounded Warrior for Ireland's champion owner.

Meanwhile, Gigginstown's retained rider, Bryan Cooper, has hailed Don Cossack as an "outstanding" horse.

Cooper, who guided Don Cossack to win the Gold Cup, said: "On his day he was outstanding, and at least he bowed out on a high on the racecourse."

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