Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree delivers again
In a year when punters can’t attend Cheltenham, the festival came to one fan’s front door in the shape of 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree - armed with a hamper full of goodies to enjoy the meeting safely from home.
Gold Cup-winner Coneygree launched his new career as the world’s first thoroughbred delivery horse with a personal visit to a Cheltenham superfan.
The visit came ahead of the biggest week in racing getting underway - which will be without its usual 250,000 strong crowd for the first time ever.
The 2015 champ Coneygree swapped the gallops to become the mane attraction in a Gloucester cul-de-sac as he trotted down the road to racing lover Dan Ashton’s doorstep with a luxury Cheltenham-from-home hamper in his saddle bag.
Coneygree was recruited by CheltenhamGuides.com to deliver the ultimate gift to cheer up racegoers missing out on their annual pilgrimage to the famous course.
The Mark Bradstock-trained thoroughbred won the biggest prize in jumps racing when finishing first in the 2015 Gold Cup - becoming the first novice chaser to win the prestigious race in over 40 years and gaining a colt following in the process.
And at the grand old age of 15, he proved it was neigh bother to nimbly trot right to the front door in his new career as a Deliver-hoof driver, causing excitement among residents.
The contents of Coneygree’s hamper came with everything needed to recreate a day out at Cheltenham from home:
A turf-scented candle
A patch of the hallowed turf
Enough food and drink to sustain a marathon week on the sofa
A signed photo of Coneygree
Two tickets for a dream day out at the 2022 Gold Cup
Coneygree even surprised games designer Ashton by strutting into his garden to say hello as he worked from home on the kitchen table.
Upon answering the door to a Gold Cup-winning horse, a surprised Ashton said: “It was such a surreal experience seeing Coneygree walk up my road. I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing when he came right up to my front door.
“As a huge racing fan, the year you have to watch Cheltenham from home you can’t ask for any more than a Gold Cup winner paying you a visit.”
“To see a Gold Cup winner be on my doorstep was such an unbelievable experience. Coneygree was great to be around, he was so playful, really sweet and a lot of fun.
“Sadly I’m not going to be able to make my annual pilgrimage to Cheltenham this year but I will be watching from home and looking forward to going again next year.”
Sara Bradstock, co-trainer of Coneygree, said: “Coneygree just loves attention and people admiring him. He enjoyed a career of feeling like a champion so it’s important that we always make him feel special.
“He’s a great character and would hate to be stood in a field - he likes to make sure he has a lot of attention and that everybody knows him and he definitely got a kick out of it.
“Coneygree is not just an incredible racehorse who gave us this wonderful day and wonderful year, he’s also our best friend.
“He loved bringing a smile to Dan’s face and being the centre of attention on the street. It just goes to show how happy these wonderful animals make people and we were delighted to be able to cheer up a racegoer who is missing out on their big day this year.”
A CheltenhamGuides spokesperson said: “In a year when fans can’t go to Cheltenham, we wanted to take Cheltenham to the fans and recruited Gold Cup hero Coneygree as the world’s first thoroughbred delivery horse to do that job.
“The crowd is what makes the Cheltenham Festival a truly unique meeting and we’re delighted that we can bring joy to our lucky competition winner, so he can enjoy the racing from the comfort of his own sofa with some extra treats.”