Gordon Elliott's faith in Don Cossack justified with Gold Cup triumph

What a climax to a fantastic four days of racing at Cheltenham. As always Willie Mullins lead the Irish cavalry charge with an abundance of stars but it was Gordon Elliott who again showed his excellence in the training department to produce Don Cossack as a worthy Gold cup winner. Read on for all the big stories

Gordon Elliott's faith in Don Cossack justified with Gold Cup triumph

Gordon Elliott has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds Don Cossack and that long-term faith was gloriously justified in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

After seeing his imposing gelding claim his third bumper from four starts at Fairyhouse, the County Meath maestro proclaimed: " If I was a horse I'd sleep with him, he's that good."

Almost four years on, the quietly-spoken Elliott stood in the hallowed Prestbury Park winner's enclosure in a state of disbelief and with a tear in his eye after seeing Don Cossack claim the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing.

Already a four-time Grade One winner, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned nine-year-old was a well-supported 9-4 favourite in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

Positioned close to the pace throughout, Don Cossack fenced fluently and travelled beautifully to remain in contention with half a mile to run.

Last year's runner-up Djakadam moved through the three-and-a-quarter-mile feature with similar dash, but he had no answer when Don Cossack kicked in the turbo from the home turn and he devoured the final two fences to seal a four-and-a-half-length success.

A clearly emotional Elliott said: "I'm just so happy for all of us - all the staff in the yard, and my mother and father. I can't believe it. It's unbelievable. To be honest, I need to look at the race again - I was so nervous all the way around. That was something special.

Elliott sent out Silver Birch to win the Grand National in 2007, and added: "To win the Grand National, I was young and maybe didn't appreciate it - to win the Gold Cup is just unbelievable."

It was a second Gold Cup triumph for Gigginstown, a decade on from War Of Attrition's triumph in the great race.

Three years on from hitting the headlines with a Festival hat-trick, Cooper is now firmly established among the sport's elite jockeys, despite being at the tender age of just 23.

"I can't believe that's happened - it was over so quick. I couldn't believe I was going that easy turning for home. He went to go round again at the bend after the last. He galloped the whole way to the line," he said.

'Last-minute' Vautour comes good in Ryanair

Willie Mullins insisted he had no regrets after his controversial decision to switch targets with Vautour paid off with another stunning display in the Ryanair Chase.

An all-the-way winner of the 2014 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and breathtaking in the JLT Novices' Chase 12 months ago, the seven-year-old was set to be part of a formidable assault by the all-conquering champion trainer in his bid to win a first Timico Gold Cup.

However, on Tuesday morning came the shock announcement that following a string unsatisfactory workouts, Vautour was to run 24 hours earlier and despite downbeat reports, he was immediately installed as the hot favourite.

Those brave enough to take even-money had few worries throughout the the two-mile-five-furlong Grade One, with Vautour travelling with his trademark panache and jumping accurately in the hands of an ultra-confident Ruby Walsh.

The writing was on the wall for his rivals as the Mullins superstar cruised to the front running down the hill and he powered clear up the straight to gain his third Festival success by six lengths. Valseur Lido made late gains to give Mullins a one-two, narrowly ahead of last year's Gold Cup third and fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runner Road To Riches.

Annie powers to Champion Hurdle triumph

Annie Power made it third-time lucky at the Cheltenham Festival as she romped home in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

A dramatic last-flight faller in the Mares' Hurdle 12 months ago and second in the World Hurdle in 2014, she justified being supplemented for the two-mile showpiece.

The decision was made due an injury to last year's winner Faugheen for the same connections of owner Rich Ricci, trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh.

Annie Power (5-2 favourite) pulled her way to the front at the first obstacle and went on to dictate affairs, becoming only the fourth mare to win the Champion Hurdle and the first since Flakey Dove in 1994.

My Tent Or Yours put in a strong bid in his first race for 703 days, running a gallant race to take the runner-up spot, four and a half lengths behind the winner. Nichols Canyon was a head back in third to give Mullins a one-three.

Walsh said: "She deserved it. She's a great mare. It was a great performance, she's just a cracking mare. I said I'm going to ride her like Dawn Run (winner in 1984), jump out and go and if they catch me, they catch me.

"I wanted to put it to them as far out as I could, she quickened when I gave her a kick and she galloped all the way to the line. I knew halfway up the run-in she would win, it was brilliant - a great feeling. It was a brave call (to run) and it's great to be on her back."ay). It was a huge performance.

When asked if Annie Power was the best mare he had trained, Mullins said: "She'll have a higher rating than Quevega after that, but the memories Quevega gave us were something special."

Tributes paid to Jacqueline O'Brien, widow of Vincent O'Brien

Tributes have been paid to Jacqueline O'Brien, widow of the great Vincent O'Brien, after her death was announced at the age of 89.

She died early on Tuesday morning in a hospital in Dublin. Her husband, who passed away in 2009, aged 92, was a colossus of the training scene, creating the Ballydoyle dynasty and dominating National Hunt racing before turning his attentions to the Flat.

Denis Egan, chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, said: "It's very sad news. She was a lovely lady who lived life right up to the end."

Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh said: "It's very poignant on the opening day of Cheltenham, a place that Jacqueline and Vincent were so closely associated with for many years.

"She was a wonderful lady, an institution in Irish racing for decades. Deepest sympathies to the family, she was an absolute joy to have anything to do with, a wonderful fundraiser behind the scenes for worthy causes and very passionate about the family, her husband and all the successes they've had.

"It's a sad way to start the meeting, but perhaps some poignancy about it."

Married in 1951, the O'Briens had two sons, David, trainer of Derby winner Secreto, and Charles, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Susan and Jane.

Susan married John Magnier, the current supremo of the Coolmore stud operation.