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Don Cossack will be suited by Cheltenham Festival test - Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott believes Don Cossack will get the run of the race in the RSA Chase and is confident his charge has the temperament to handle the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old will be making his first trip to Prestbury Park after connections felt he needed more time to recover from a couple of minor setbacks when fancied for the Neptune and Albert Bartlett novice hurdle contests last term.

Elliott always regarded the gelding as a future chaser anyway and he has rewarded that patience with a rock-solid first season over fences, registering form figures of 1-2-1-2.

A winner of two bumpers and a couple of races over timber before ending his career in that sphere with a fair third behind Annie Power at Naas last February, Don Cossack created a big impression when romping home by 20 lengths in a beginners chase at Galway in October.

He then went down narrowly to Morning Assembly in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown before staying on strongly to get the better of Carlingford Lough in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse.

Although beaten by Ballycasey in the Dr PJ Moriarty at Leopardstown over 2m 5f last time out, Elliott feels coming from off the pace in a strongly-run three-mile contest will favour his charge much more than the small field which went to post that day.

"He's won twice and finished second twice, so if every horse we had in the yard was like him, we'd be delighted," declared the trainer. "He's going for the RSA, he's in good form and I think going a good gallop over three miles and dropping him in will suit him.

"He got a couple of niggly problems as a hurdler but he's been very good over fences and we're happy. It looks a very competitive race but we're looking forward to it and if we can keep him in one piece until then we'll be very happy.

"He's a big, laid-back horse and nothing seems to faze him. Obviously you'd be happier if he'd been over there before but he's in great heart and we're hopeful."

As well as winning the Grand National with Silver Birch, Elliott has claimed three Cheltenham Festival winners, landing a 2011 double with Chicago Grey and Carlito Brigante and scoring with Flaxen Flare last year. 


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Don Cossack will be suited by Cheltenham Festival test - Gordon Elliott

Gordon Elliott believes Don Cossack will get the run of the race in the RSA Chase and is confident his charge has the temperament to handle the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival.

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