Gordon Elliott’s chaser was recovering from a tendon injury and owners Gigginstown were hoping to have him back in time for this year’s Gold Cup but he has met with a setback.
Elliott said: ”I am very sad to report that Don Cossack has suffered a setback and will now be retired.
“We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg yesterday and we’ve made the decision to call time.”
“It’s a real sickener for Gigginstown, 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.
“He’s won Grade Ones at Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown, Fairyhouse and Down Royal. He was the top-rated horse in Britain and Ireland for the last two seasons running and we’d have loved to see him take on Thistlecrack in the Gold Cup. It would have been a cracking race.
“That’s racing as they say and we have to let that go now and find something else to take on Thistlecrack.
“It was one of the highlights of my career when Don Cossack won the Gold Cup for us last year and he retires a champion. As I said already, he owes us absolutely nothing and a peaceful retirement awaits him out in Gigginstown.”
Don Cossack’s retirement means neither of the last two Gold Cup winners are in contention for the prize this year, with 2015 winner Coneygree ruled out of the race earlier in the week.
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