Jonjo O'Neill delighted with Minella Rocco's run in Cheltenham Gold Cup

Jonjo O'Neill delighted with Minella Rocco's run in Cheltenham Gold Cup

Its Timico Mixed Open Series, which began in January, will culminate in an all-new Timico Mixed Open Gold Cup Final to be held at the Hunter Chase evening at Cheltenham Racecourse, the Home of Jump Racing, on Friday 5 May.

Djakadam, twice the runner-up, travelled well for most of the race and looked as though he might finally win for Willie Mullins.

It should prove to be yet another day of spectacular Grade One jumping and should prove to be a fitting end to the 2017 Cheltenham Festival. It is impossible to know how he would have fared had he stood up, there is a school of thought that says that he wouldn't have beaten Don Cossack anyway, but he was travelling well and we will never know for certain.

"No woman's ridden it since I've been watching it".

Harrington said: "I can't believe it, it was unbelievable how he jumped and travelled".

This horse, who is now 11, seems to have been around forever and amazingly first caught my attention in 2010 when he won the champion bumper at 40-1.

Power, who has only recently fought his way back from a serious injury to his eye socket, joined an elite band of jockeys to have won both the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Sadly he won't be that price today and I'm actually going to take him on with stable companion Native River, who just keeps on improving having won the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Welsh Grand National before stepping up his game last time in the Denman Chase. On breeding, I think he will stay and we have seen in the past with Best Mate and Kicking King that horses can win a Gold Cup once they go up in distance.

Willie Mullins has trained 52 Festival winners, but never the victor of the Gold Cup.




Power went on: "I had a lot of confidence in this horse, ever since the first day I rode him behind Douvan".

The first race could be won Richard Johnsion on top of Defi Du Seuil at odds of 4/9. When you're on the best horse you can go anywhere. "He had it over two miles behind Douvan and he has that bit of speed".

Owner Garth Broom said of third-placed Native River: "I felt we were slightly robbed of second right on the line, but finishing third in a Gold Cup with a seven-year-old is something you can't complain about".

"This is the jewel in the crown, absolutely wonderful", said Harrington who joins two-time victor Jenny Pitman and triple winning trainer Henrietta Knight in the Gold Cup hall of fame. Initially disappointing over fences, he came good to win a strong renewal of the National Hunt Chase at the last Festival, with Native River second.

The Randox Health County Hurdle is always a keenly contested affair but Dan Skelton is taken to secure back-to-back victories with North Hill Harvey.

Deeply impressive handicap victor at the last Festival and appears to have taken a step forward since joining Gordon Elliott this season. In so doing, he claimed his sixth victor of the week to tie with Mullins but he won the title on countback to placed runners. "I can't believe it, I've got to get a Classic now [on the Flat]!"

Two fences in, it was all over for the 23-year-old. On Stayers' Hurdle day at Cheltenham's famous racecourse, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh recovered their form with four sensational wins.

Hobbs was brought to tears by the victory and added, "It's a relief!"

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