Faithful cheer Danoli home


IS this not what racing is about? Is this not why 18,000 people snaked their way to Leopardstown? Where else do grown men whelp in public and oafishly jig around?

The once knackered bay gelding, who remarkably came back to racing. The then fit horse who, it was said, just couldn't get his jumping right; Danoli, they were saying around the betting enclosures, had a head problem. Couldn't get his horse brain around the bigger jumps and really wasn't worth backing. A price of 6 to 1 and even the people who had made him a champion in their hearts, had doubts about the nine year old getting around in one piece.

But that he did, in convincing style, and what is now becoming an epic rather than a novel tale of triumph, had a new chapter added yesterday.

From the moment Danoli took to the front of yesterday's Hennessy Gold Cup and the punters roar sent the main stand into a tremble, the sense of expectation for this animal grew with every stride. Three miles on, and a couple of mistakes to curl the lips, sent hearts beating but the warrior was still on his feet and, more importantly, he was still in front.

Tommy Treacy on board Danoli knew his animal, knew that he could take him to the biggest win of his life and a share of Lee £59,000 prize. "If he could take the fences well, he could stay for ever," Treacy said afterwards.

Trainer, Tom Foley, drew a hoot from the crowd. "It was a good performance," he humbly offered before adding "for a novice."