CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Don Cossack won the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a 9-4 favorite on Friday, after Cue Card fell at the third-to-last fence in his bid for the Triple Crown of British jump racing and winnings of nearly $2 million.
Cue Card misjudged his jump and tumbled to the ground, having just surged into the lead in Britain's most prestigious jumps race.
That left Don Cossack and Djakadam to fight for victory, and Don Cossack had the stronger finish up the hill to win by about five lengths. The winning jockey, 23-year-old Bryan Cooper, justified his decision to ride Don Cossack over Don Poli, who was at the back of the field for most of the 22-fence race before finishing third.
Cue Card won the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase this season, giving him the opportunity to claim a bonus of 1 million pounds ($1.45 million) put up by the Jockey Club in Britain to any horse winning all three Grade One races. The winner's prize was worth more than 327,000 pounds ($475,000).
''He's absolutely fine,'' said Colin Tizzard, Cue Card's trainer. ''He's doesn't have a care in the world. That's racing.''
Don Cossack has been one of the top chasers in Britain and Ireland this season, except for a mistake at the King George in December when he fell while travelling well and mounting a challenge.
''There was never a moment's worry,'' said owner Michael O'Leary, who also owns the Ryanair airline. ''He jumped brilliantly and Bryan gave him a superb ride. He was always in control.''
Willie Mullins, the trainer of Djakadam and Don Poli, is still seeking his first Gold Cup win. Djakadam was runner-up for the second year running.