Empire Of Dirt: camp have the Ryanair and Gold Cup to choose from
PICTURE:Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos
By Brian Sheerin and David Jennings 6:56PM 11 MAR 2017
EDDIE O’LEARY insists a decision on whether Empire Of Dirt lines up in the Ryanair Chase or the Timico Gold Cup at Cheltenham will be left until next week but revealed he has always viewed the ten-year-old as a Ryanair horse.
Following the news that Don Poli is to miss the Gold Cup due to injury, speculation began to gather on the prospect of Gigginstown calling on Ryanair fancy Empire Of Dirt for Friday feature, but O’Leary insists nothing has been discussed.
“I have always viewed Empire Of Dirt as a Ryanair horse but that’s not to say Gordon [Elliott] or Michael [O’Leary] think otherwise,” he said on Saturday.
“We haven’t had a chat about it yet but I know what way I am thinking about the whole thing anyway. He will be left in both races for sure because you need to keep your options open.
“He will be left in the Gold Cup today but that doesn’t mean he will run. It could mean if he fell at the first in a Ryanair we would be glad of the Gold Cup entry.”
Gigginstown have been met with some cruel blows to their staying chase battalion this season. Their woeful run began in January when Don Cossack was retired and denied an opportunity to defend his Gold Cup crown.
Just two days after calling time on Don Cossack’s career Gigginstown revealed exciting young chaser Valseur Lido suffered a season-ending injury on the gallops.
Now that Road To Riches and Don Poli have met with a similar fate the owners, whose modus operandi is to win the Gold Cup, have only one definite runner in the race, the Gordon Elliott-trained Outlander.
O’Leary added: “I think Outlander will definitely stay the trip and he should have a good chance.”
Like Outlander, Empire Of Dirt is trained by Gordon Elliott who also remained tight lipped about Cheltenham plans.
Elliott said: “I will speak to Michael and Eddie about Empire Of Dirt at the races this weekend but at the moment there’s no news. He’ll be left in both races.”