Thrilled Coneygree camp considering King George
Coneygree: is a best-priced 6-1 for the King George
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Thrilled Coneygree camp considering King George By Stuart Riley 9:42AM 20 NOV 2016
CONNECTIONS of former Cheltenham Gold Cup winners are rarely delighted after a 15-length defeat, but that is exactly how Sara Bradstock, assistant trainer of Coneygree, felt after the nine-year-old's comeback at Haydock on Saturday.
Bradstock, who reported the 2015 Cheltenham hero had recovered from his comeback exertions quicker than expected and was in good form with himself the morning after, watched her stable star serve it up to the magnificent Cue Card on his first start for over a year.
He got tired in the home straight, but he still put 13 lengths into the third and Bradstock said: "He's surprisingly as fresh as a daisy. He recovered a lot quicker than I thought he would.
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"He got tired in that [heavy] ground after a long time off but he was beaten before that because he was a little bit ring-rusty. He likes ground that slows the others down but that was probably a little deep for him to get into top gear.
"What we wanted to see was that he still wanted to do it and has the engine. Both of those questions were answered and he is okay this morning, so we couldn't be more delighted."
Lexus a possibility
Bradstock, who was speaking on At The Races, added: "We always said there was no point riding him like a horse who had been off a long time as that's not what he does, so Richard Johnson had to ride him [from the front] like he did. I said if you get beat just look after him and he did exactly that.
"I don't think he ever quite got up to top speed to blunt Cue Card so I think there's a little bit of fitness to come but also an awful lot of sharpness that he will have gained from that race. After his injury his rehab consisted of miles and miles of slow work and he doesn't want ground that deep now he's at the top of his game."
Bradstock revealed the 32Red King George VI Chase and Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas are under consideration for Coneygree's next target.
She said: "We're thinking King George but we'll see how it goes. The Lexus is another possibility. If he comes out of this race a bit sharper I think we'll go for the King George. If I think we need a little bit of a confidence boost and it looks easier in Ireland we might do that."
Champion jockey Richard Johnson, who rode Coneygree, tweeted: "Coneygree ran a brilliant race on his return and will come on for it. Cue Card brilliant on the day and the one we all have to beat. #rematch."
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