Don Cossack wins Kinloch Brae after Champagne Fever falls at last fence

• Elliott targeting Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham Festival
• Runner-up set to drop in trip for the Champion Chase

Don Cossack was 44 lengths clear of the runner-up Texas Jack at the end of the Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles on Thursday but his easy victory came only after a closely fought duel with Champagne Fever, the favourite for the race, which ended when Champagne Fever fell at the last fence with the race in the balance. Don Cossack is now among the favourites for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on 12 March, while Champagne Fever is expected to drop back to two miles to contest the Queen Mother Champion Chase the previous afternoon.

Don Cossack and Champagne Fever were the clear form horses for Thursday’s four-runner race and pulled clear of their two opponents a long way from home as they jumped with impressive speed and accuracy. Don Cossack made a minor mistake at the second-last, allowing Champagne Fever to open a narrow lead on the run to the last, but they took off together before Willie Mullins’s grey knuckled over on landing, which allowed Don Cossack and Bryan Cooper to coast home alone.

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