Horse Racing Cheltenham Festival By Jon Ivan-Duke

Coneygree Takes The Trophy As Bookmakers Toast Record Gold Cup Betting Levels!

The unlikely pairing of a conditional jockey and a novice jumper today made history at Cheltenham with a hard-fought win in jump racing’s blue riband – The Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Coneygree – having only his fourth start over the chase fences – prevailed over an experienced field that included last year’s winner Lord Windermere, and William Hill King George winner Silviniaco Conti.


Holding off sustained challenges from the more-practised Irish raiders Djakadam and Road to Riches, the eight-year-old battled every yard of the steep Cheltenham finish, where his 25-year-old pilot rose his irons in-front of the 70,000-strong crowd.


The race proved the most popular Cheltenham betting race of all-time, with British betting giants William Hill reporting turnover levels exceeding £5million on the race. Long-time ante-post favourite Silviniaco Conti had been the subject of an intense public gamble – backed down from 5-1 to 3-1 throughout the day.


Kate Miller, spokeswoman for William Hill, said: ‘’The Cheltenham Gold Cup becomes bigger each year – and this year we reached record numbers once again.  We’d have faced losses of around £3million if Silviniaco Conti had won, so we’re raising a toast to the combined talents of Nico and Coneygree tonight.’’


William Hill immediately quoted Coneygree as the 7-1 second-favourite to repeat his victory in the 2016 Gold Cup, and a 5-1 chance to add the Christmas favourite – The William Hill King George – later this year.


2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup: 5-1 Don Poli, Vautour, 7-1 Coneygree, 10-1 Djakadam, 12-1 Road To Riches, 16-1 Holywell, (EW 1/5 Odds Places 1,2,3)


William Hill King George VI Chase: 5-1 Coneygree, Vautour (EW 1/5 Odds Places 1,2,3)