Don Cossack: ended career by winning Gold Cup last year
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Baxter 10:40AM 11 JAN 2017
DON COSSACK, winner of last year’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, has been retired.
Trainer Gordon Elliott revealed Don Cossack had met with a setback, which led to his retirement.
Quoted on his Betfair blog, Elliott said: “We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg yesterday [Tuesday] and we’ve made the decision to call time.
“It’s a real sickener for Gigginstown [owners], myself, Bryan Cooper and the whole yard. We knew it was never certain we would get him back to the racecourse – and even after that to get him back to his best – but we were hopeful and he was on track for a run at Gowran Park next month.
“He’s a horse of a lifetime and he owes us nothing. I said all season that if he had any sort of setback at all we would not abuse him and retire him straight away.”
Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown House Stud, had thought the Gold Cup hero was on course to make a comeback from a tendon injury sustained last April.
“I saw him last week and he had legs like steel, so this comes as a big surprise as we thought we had him back,” O’Leary said.
Gigginstown’s Michael O’Leary said: “Anita, Eddie and I would like to sincerely thank Gordon, Karen, Louise and all the team at Cullentra House for the outstanding job they did in managing Don Cossack’s career, to ultimately win the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
“Gordon left no stone unturned to help Don Cossack return to defend his title but alas it is not to be. At the age of ten we are all agreed that the best thing for “the Don” is a well-earned and very well pampered retirement in Gigginstown.”
With Don Cossack now retired, this year’s Gold Cup is unlikely to feature either of the last two winners as connections of Coneygree revealed earlier in the week that they will not enter the 2015 winner.
More to follow…