Coneygree returns to rapturous scenes after the Cheltenham Gold CupPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Coneygree camp aiming for legendary status
THE team behind Coneygree have revealed they are fixed on achieving greatness with their trailblazing chaser as they assess the brilliant Cheltenham Gold Cup winner’s next step following his absence from Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup.
Coneygree, the first novice to win jump racing’s most coveted prize in 41 years last season, was last week denied the opportunity to try to replicate Denman’s memorable Hennessy weight-carrying performance in 2009 after failing to fire in a schooling session.
The manner in which Coneygree has dismantled his rivals through raw power and relentless galloping has already drawn comparisons with Denman, but assistant trainer Sara Bradstock has set her sight on an even greater barometer.
“I want him to be considered great,” she said. “I don’t mind if he’s compared to Denman but prefer it to be Arkle. We have to do what the horse does best, he will show us and I want him to be admired.”
King George next?
The next port of call on the potential journey to legendary status might come in the William Hill King George VI Chase on December 26, although Coneygree needs to be supplemented after he was missing from the last entry stage with connections blaming a "computer glitch".
He is 5-1 with a run with Paddy Power and could lock horns with Vautour, Cue Card and Don Cossack, who are all shorter in the betting for Kempton’s Christmas cracker.
“He will run where he is well and if he’s really well, the King George would be the biggest ask,” added Bradstock on Betfred TV.
“You’re going to have a back-on-form Cue Card, Vautour, who did look perfectly beatable the other day but that may not have been him, and all the other horses who just may be able to produce another gear off his gallop.”
Coneygree started out on the road back to the Gold Cup, for which he is a best-priced 6-1 chance, with an effortless 25-length romp in his seasonal reappearance at Sandown.
Bradstock said: “It was wonderful to see him back where he left off as six months later you are always worried if they are going to be as good.
“He’s proved again and again that he takes horses out of their comfort zone and what we don’t want is soft, small fences as we want to make his fantastic jumping a big part of it.”