Outlander (right) is likely to skip Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Brian Sheerin 5:55PM 23 NOV 2016
IT IS looking increasingly likely that there will be no Irish-trained chaser in Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
After ante-post favourite Avant Tout suffered a fatal injury in his prep run at Naas, Gigginstown House Stud were responsible for the remaining Irish challengers – Wounded Warrior, Outlander and Empire Of Dirt – but racing manager Eddie O’Leary has revealed they are unlikely to be represented.
Outlander had been as short at 12-1 for the Hennessy, with Empire Of Dirt a general 16-1 chance and Wounded Warrior at 33-1.
O’Leary said: “Outlander definitely won’t run as he has had a fall just last week in the Clonmel Oil Chase.
“He was running well and probably would have won that day, so I think we will look at the John Durkan at Punchestown on December 11 for him now.”
Troytown for Empire Of Dirt
Wounded Warrior takes on Champagne Fever at Thurles on Sunday, while Cheltenham Festival winner Empire Of Dirt is likely to wait for Navan on Sunday.
O’Leary said: “Empire Of Dirt will probably run in the Troytown at Navan instead. He was running a big race in it last year and he should have a good chance this year as well, even though he has a big weight to carry.
“With Wounded Warrior, we just felt Thursday’s race at Thurles was a better option for him. He’s a young horse and we thought it would be a big ask starting him off in the Hennessy.”
Hennessy favourite Native River was eased to 6-1 (from 11-2) on Wednesday with William Hill, with support coming for RSA Chase winner Blaklion, who was cut to 9-1 (from 12) with the same bookmaker.