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  • 15:45 Hennessy Gold Cup 3m

  • (grade 1) €180,000 added 5yo+ 7 ran
  • Winner:
  • Going: Heavy
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 41.50s
  • Off time: 15:45:28

Joncol Wins Hennessy Thriller

Last Updated: 07/02/10 8:15pm

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Joncol wins at Leopardstown.

Joncol wins at Leopardstown.

Joncol provided jockey Alain Cawley with the biggest success of his career in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Trained by Paul Nolan, the giant seven-year-old had finished third in the Lexus Chase at Christmas after looking the winner for a long way.

Connections had stated he would be ridden with more restraint this time and Cawley pounced on Cooldine well after the last to deny last year's RSA Chase winner by a neck in a thrilling finish.

Ruby Walsh set out to make all on Cooldine and he looked to be back on form after disappointing when pulled up in the Lexus.

Schindlers Hunt looked the biggest threat though as the field turned into the straight, with Notre Pere and Money Trix caught flat-footed.

Joncol still had a few lengths to make up between the final two fences and despite jumping right, Cawley managed to get his mount home inside the final 100 yards with Schindlers Hunt not beaten far in third after a mistake at the last.

Joncol is 6-1 from 10s for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with Sky Bet, who left Cooldine unchanged at 14-1 for the Gold Cup.

Schindlers Hunt was also chopped to 8-1 from 20s for the Ryanair Chase by the Harrogate firm.

Nolan said: "This is brilliant and days like this don't come round too often. "I thought we were in trouble for a while but he is very gutsy and we held up him a bit longer compared to the Lexus.

"They went very steady, the ground was a little tacky and Alain gave him a great ride.

"We have been trying to do two jobs in freshening him up while not training him too hard.

"Cheltenham is at the back of my mind and he is only 50-50 to run there.

"If he does go, it will be for the Ryanair and I have no regrets not entering him for the Gold Cup with Kauto Star and Denman being in there. I would rather go for a race where he is in contention.

"If the ground stays right I'd love to run him in the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown."

Mullins was delighted to see Cooldine return to form and is now eyeing a return trip to Prestbury Park.

He said: "I am very happy with that and it is more like the old Cooldine.

"I expect he will improve and he'll go straight to the Gold Cup.

"He improved all through his novice campaign and I hope it will be the same this year."

Paddy Flood, rider of Schindlers Hunt, felt his mount could have finished closer had he not made his jumping blunder.

He said: "The mistake at the last cost him dearly and it is something he tends to do.

"It is hard to get going again after something like that after running three miles in that ground.

"I thought I had Cooldine covered at the time and he (Cooldine) has only been beaten a neck."

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