Don Cossack was a stunning winner of the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup as the Gordon Elliott-trained raider fought off Djakadam in a thrilling finish to the blue riband event, but the race could have been so much different had Cue Card not fallen in the closing stages as he aimed to land the prestigious £1m bonus on offer.
Smad Place adopted his customary front-running tactics, but he was hassled for the lead throughout the race by O'Faolains Boy, while the trio of Don Cossack, Cue Card and Djakadam all stalked the leaders, with the other fancied runner Don Poli always struggling to keep up with the leaders.
The positions hardly changed as we went through the first three-quarters of the contest, but the race-defining moment happened when Paddy Brennan asked Cue Card for a big leap at one of the final fences, but Colin Tizzard's star put in another stride and he was unable to get high enough and crashed to the ground to set the race up for the Irish contingent.
Don Poli was never able to get in contention, and it was left to Don Cossack and Djakadam to fight it out for glory, but it was the former who was backed into a clear 9/4 favourite that had too much class for his rival and he went on to beat Djakadam by four-and-a-half lengths, with Don Poli ten lengths behind in third.
15:30 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 1.Don Cossack - G Elliott - B Cooper - 9/4F 2.Djakadam - W Mullins - R Walsh - 9/2 3.Don Poli - W Mullins - D Russell - 9/2 9 Ran