Billy Cooper with Our Duke
Rathangan farmer Billy Cooper will travel confidently to Cheltenham for Friday’s Gold Cup - the most prestigious of National Hunt races.
Billy, who lives in Clonbrock on the Kildare-Offaly border, is part of the syndicate who own Our Duke.
The horse is third favourite behind Might Bite and Native River for the highlight of the festival which takes place at 3.30.
“He’s as well prepared as possible thanks to (trainer) Jessica Harrington; He’s in great order and he’s getting the boat this afternoon from Dublin to Holyhead. I’ll be very disappointed if he’s not in the first four,” Billy told the Leader today.
Will you back him ? “I will, each way anyway.”
And the absence of the last year’s winner Sizing John from the field doesn’t alter his opinion
“I’d fancy Our Duke above Sizing John; I think he’s a better horse.”
The eight year old gelding won the Irish Grand National last year at 9/2 with Robbie Power aboard, who will ride Our Duke.
This could be a good omen as could the fact that Power was aboard for the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John in last year’s Gold Cup.
Billy and the remainder of the syndicate, who live in Coolrain, Co.Laois with one member based in the United States, are due home on Saturday.
“But if we win the plans could change; we might buy a Ryanair jet and fly it home ourselves.”