Coneygree needs no introduction and we are all very proud of what he achieved at Cheltenham. He has been with us since he was two years old, when he came to learn some manners before being backed. Since then, we have tamed him, trained him, rehabilitated him from injury and enjoyed showing the world what he is capable of.
He certainly proved himself on Friday 13th, 2015 when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup ridden by Nico de Boinville. The statistics were stacked against him but we were confident that he had the tools to contest the Blue Riband of Steeplechasing. Coneygree knows his job, and his total focus on jumping and galloping his rivals into submission is unequalled. Jockey, Nico de Boinville, had total belief in us and Coneygree, and the rest, as they say, is history.
This was a victory for all the hard work we put in to each of our horses, all of whom are more like members of the family, and a deserved win for a talented gelding who is brave and athletic enough to be able to compete at the top levels.
The odds against such a win were even higher when you consider that Coneygree injured the tendon in his back leg early in 2013, and only ran once in the 2013/14 season. Our rehabilitation programme saw him regain full fitness and burst back onto the racing scene as a novice chaser in November 2014.
Coneygree ran and won four races in the 2014/15 season, winning decisively at Kempton when ridden by Nico de Boinville (40 lengths) on Boxing Day in the Kauto Star Novice Chase. He also won the Denman Chase at Newbury while ridden by Richard Johnson.
Following his progress and success we and his owners decided to enter him for both the RSA and Gold Cup at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival which gave us time to reflect on his form and make the final decision a few days before the start of the festival. It turned out to be the right choice as Coneygree became the first novice to win the Gold Cup since 1974.