• Cheltenham Festival

Coneygree claims Cheltenham Gold Cup thriller

ESPN staff
March 13, 2015
Nico de Boinville and Coneygree clear the last fence to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup © Getty Images

Coneygree became the first novice to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1974 with a thrilling finish on the final day of the festival.

Jockey Nico de Boinville steered the 7-1 chance into an early lead before fending off the challenges of Djakadam and Road To Riches in the closing stages.

"It's unbelievable; words can't describe it," De Boinville told the BBC. "He dug deep but I always knew he had enough left."

19-time champion AP McCoy, racing in his last Gold Cup before retiring from the sport, finished ninth on Carlingford Lough.

Mark Bradstock-trained Coneygree thrived in the soft conditions caused by heavy rain overnight at the Gloucestershire course and looked strong in just his fourth race over fences.

Coneygree becomes the first novice to claim steeplechasing's blue riband event since Captain Christy 41 years ago.

"I'm numb, it's wonderful," said Bradstock. "It won't sink in for a while, but it's great. We've done it before in smaller races and we'll still keep doing it, but it's fantastic to do it on the big stage."

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