Cottin knows his Easysland is 'a champion'
French cross-country star Easysland became the horse who mugged the king today when thwarting the great Tiger Roll's bid for a fifth victory at The Festival.
Easysland (3/1), who was bought privately by J P McManus after winning a cross-country chase at The International at Cheltenham in December, and has since won a race at Pau in France, returned to land today's Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, fending off Tiger Roll (8/11f). The double Randox Health Grand National winner tried his best but became tired in the ground and finished second beaten 17 lengths. Third-placed Out Sam (33/1) was another 15 lengths adrift.
The winner completed a 119/1 treble for McManus following victories by his Champ and Domaine De Compagnie.
Winning trainer David Cottin said of six-year-old Easysland: "I was expecting a good run from him. He seemed really well at home, his coat had changed, he was in good form and it was a really big advantage to have come here in December and to know the track. The heavy ground was also in his favour.
"He's a horse who is extremely well balanced and, while he is only a six-year-old, with a cross-country horse you have to train them when they are young over those jumps. We have been very patient with him as were his former owners. That has paid off.
"I always dreamed of riding a winner here as a jockey, and unfortunately it didn't happen, but I'm really pleased to be here now, and it's all down to the team at home who are very motivating. We have a lot of horses and a lot of staff."
Cottin smiled when it was pointed out that his horse had defeated the public's favourite, Tiger Roll, and said succinctly: "My horse is a champion. Today he is the best.
"He is still very young and his future is ahead of him. This was his best performance to date and he is still improving. Every race he shows an improvement. He will now have a holiday, but he will stay in this type of racing and come back here next season."
4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
1 Easysland (J P McManus) David Cottin FR 6-11-04 Jonathan Plouganou 3/1
2 Tiger Roll (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 10-11-04 Keith Donoghue 8/11f
3 Out Sam (Mr D Charlesworth) Gordon Elliott IRE 11-11-04 Mr Jamie Codd 33/1
Distances: 17, 18
Tote Win: £3.50 Place: £1.60, £1.10, £5.00 Exacta: £6.40
David Cottin - 1st winner at The Festival
Jonathan Plouganou - 1st winner at The Festival