Bryan Cooper celebrates winning on Roi Du Mee at Down RoyalPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Roi the Down Royal
king in Champion Chase
Report: Down Royal, Saturday
JNwine.com Champion Chase (Grade 1) 3m, 5yo+
ROI DU MEE ran his rivals ragged by making all to capture the highlight of the season at Down Royal in imperious fashion.
Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Bryan Cooper, Roi Du Mee was the lesser fancied of the two runners for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud with First Lieutenant also in the line up but his rivals could not lay a glove on him.
With Bryan Cooper taking over from Keith Donoghue when Quito De La Roque was declared a non-runner, Roi Du Mee was quickly into the lead and into a slick jumping rhythm.
The same could not be said for last year's winner Kauto Stone who was slothenly over the first few fences regularly losing ground before warming to the task on the second circuit.
With four fences remaining time was running out for the big guns to catch Roi Du Mee and when Mount Benbulben, who had travelled sweetly into contention, unseated his rider with three fences to go it was left to Sizing Europe and Prince De Beauchene to chase the leader down.
However, Sizing Europe's stamina over the trip has never been assured and he could not make any ground on Roi Du Mee while Prince De Beauchene could only plug on at one pace in third.
Elliott said: "He tries his heart out the whole time and never knows when he is beat. He's brilliant, brilliant."
Of Mount Benbulben, the trainer added: "I thought he was cantering until he fell. He's a very good horse but his jumping has let him down again."