Paul Nicholls 'super proud' of Gold Cup runner-up Bravemansgame
Paul Nicholls said he was "super proud" of Bravemansgame after his stable star gallantly chased home Galopin Des Champs in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The King George winner was in contention jumping the last alongside the 7-5 favourite, but finished seven lengths behind him after toughing it out to the line.
"What can you say, I'm just super proud of him and everything went right," said Britain's champion trainer. "We wouldn't do anything differently.
"He jumped and travelled well and I could see Galopin stalking him a little bit. I hate coming second, you know me, but I can't be anything but proud of the horse. He ran a blinding race and we'll give it another go next season. The only places he'll run next are Punchestown and Aintree but we'll play it by ear and see how he is.
"He's had a hard race and if he didn't run again this season it wouldn't be the end of the world, but he's only run once since Christmas so we could go to Aintree. We've got Clan Des Obeaux coming along nicely for that. Bravemansgame is a young horse and if we don't run, we'll go Charlie Hall, King George and here again."
On the performance of Galopin Des Champs, Nicholls, a four-time winner of the Gold Cup, added: "He's a very good horse. He looks a superstar. One of the best."
Conflated outran his odds when finishing third at 22-1 under Sam Ewing, who was a late replacement for Davy Russell after the jockey stood himself down with a sore collarbone.
The nine-year-old, who was a faller in the Ryanair Chase at last year's festival, went third approaching the last and finished six and a half lengths behind Bravemansgame.
"I thought Conflated ran a great race and Sam Ewing gave him a great ride," said trainer Gordon Elliott. "He got into a lovely rhythm and it looked like a proper race. I'm looking forward to seeing it again. They went an end-to-end gallop and our horse ran his heart out. I was delighted by his performance.
“Davy was sore and to be honest I haven’t really spoken to him much, but when I saw him he said he was sore so it looks like he was kicked. Sam gave the horse a brilliant ride. We can build for the future. I told the young lads I’d give them chances and if they keep riding like this we’ll be fine."
Last year's Grand National winner Noble Yeats was dropped to the rear and pushed along at the 15th fence, but finished well to claim fourth under Sean Bowen.
"If the ground had been softer, he may have been closer at the finish as he was steaming up the hill, finishing with a flourish when the race was more or less over," said owner Robert Waley-Cohen. "If he's in good heart then all roads will lead to Aintree, where he will be trying to win the Grand National for the second time."
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