Connections of former Gold Cup hero Coneygree were relieved to report he had shown no ill effects after his comeback run behind Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The renowned front-runner suffered his first defeat over fences after he became tired in the closing stages of the three-mile Grade One and was unable to match the closing effort of Cue Card – who was winning the race for the third time in his outstanding career.
Coming off the back of a 377-day layoff Sara Bradstock, assistant trainer to husband Mark, declared herself pleased with the run as she reported Coneygree to be in rude health the day after his race.
“He’s actually fine. In fact, he’s surprisingly as fresh as a daisy. He’s recovered much quicker than I thought he would,” she told At The Races.
“He got tired in that ground, but he was beaten before that because he was a little bit ring-rusty – that (the heavy ground) was probably a little bit deep for him to get into top gear.
“After a significant injury, all you want to see is that the horse can still do it and that he still has the engine. He answered both of those questions.”
Coneygree and Cue Card could meet again next month in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
Colin Tizzard’s charge is definitely bound for that race as he seeks the second leg of a potential jumps triple crown and the £1m bonus that comes with it.
Bradstock admits that Coneygree could instead head for Ireland and the Lexus Chase over Christmas. Both horses are on target for Cheltenham’s Blue Ribband in March.
Cue Card is 8.00 to win the Gold Cup while Coneygree is priced at 8.00 after his comeback defeat.