Bryan Cooper talks up Coneygree for Gold Cup

Cooper Coneygree in Gold Cup

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Bryan Cooper will probably partner either Don Cossack or Don Poli at the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he feels Coneygree should be considered the favourite.

Coneygree secured the Gold Cup in 2015, beating Djakadam by a length-and-a-half, and is expected to defend his crown after making a winning return recently.

JLT Novices’ Chase hero Vautour is currently 5.00 to claim the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but Cooper feels the Mark Bradshaw-trained eight-year-old, who is priced at 7.00, should be the market leader.

He told the Racing Post: “I think Coneygree should probably be favourite more for what he achieved last season than what he did at Sandown [on Sunday], where he won unchallenged.

“He’s done it and there is no reason why he cannot improve from last season, whereas we still have to find out whether Vautour, who was very good in the JLT, is a horse for three miles-plus.”

Cooper is the number one rider to Gigginstown House Stud and as such Don Cossack and Don Poli are potential Gold Cup options for the jockey.

Don Cossack is 7.00 ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Don Poli is priced at 9.00.

If Coneygree does win the showpiece event at next year’s Cheltenham Festival then he will be the first horse since Best Mate in 2004 to successfully defend the title, although the legendary Kauto Star won the Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009 after losing out to Denman in 2008.

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