Belfast Telegraph

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Ricci delighted with Djak

It was a case of so near yet so far for owner Rich Ricci in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after his Djakadam had to settle for second behind Coneygree.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old travelled superbly for Ruby Walsh but could not reel in the pacesetting winner.

Ricci said: "He's run a stormer, I thought we had him but fair play to the winner, to run in this race as a novice and to do that from the front was spectacular."

He added: "He'll be back next year. We've had a great week."

His rider Ruby Walsh said: "He's run a blinder. He made a few little jumping errors, but he's run a blinder for a six-year-old.

"He stuck his head out and gave me everything he had."

Mullins said: "We had a fantastic run and I was just commending the winner's brave decision to run in the Gold Cup. It paid off and the winner did it the hard way in front.

"I was delighted with my horse. He ran well. He jumped great and got a good position. I don't have any excuses and Ruby doesn't either.

"Our fellow is only a six-year-old and the winner's an eight-year-old. In those conditions, when stamina comes to the fore, age will always beat youth. We'll go on to Punchestown."

Noel Meade said of third-placed Road To Riches: "He ran a great race. We're delighted and disappointed. What other way can you be?

"We thought we had a chance at the last. It's possible the ground was a disadvantage to us. Maybe it wasn't, but we think it might have been."

Richie McLernon, rider of fourth home Holywell, said: "He stays all day and you can't ask any more. He gave me his all today."

His trainer Jonjo O'Neill said: "We're delighted with our little horse. It was a brilliant race really.

"We had to put a lot of effort in with his jumping. He'd be better on better ground, but today the best horse won.

"Our horse ran a blinder and we're thrilled to bits with him.

"The winner is a fantastic horse and they couldn't catch him."

Paul Nicholls, trainer of the vanquished favourite Silviniaco Conti, who was seventh, said: "Noel (Fehily) is not really sure. My view is that the ground might have been deep enough for him. It was a bit more testing than we thought.

"Watching that I suppose he is better on a flatter track on better ground. If he's fresh and well we'll probably head to Aintree with him now."


From Belfast Telegraph