Thursday 29 September 2016

Elliott buzzing as Don nears return

Johnny Ward

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

Don Cossack and Bryan Cooper winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March Picture: PA
Don Cossack and Bryan Cooper winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March Picture: PA

Don Cossack, which at one stage it was feared may never run again, could be back at Gordon Elliott's within the next fortnight.

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The son of Sholokov, winner of an epic Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, is making a fine recovery from injury and Elliott is growing in confidence that his stable star will see the track again.

The nine-year-old's racing career has been in jeopardy since he suffered a tendon problem which ruled him out of the Punchestown festival last season. His issue had been discovered after coming back from the gallops on one Sunday morning prior to Punchestown.

Brazen

Connections are making no brazen predictions but Elliott will be delighted to show owners the Gigginstown-owned chaser at his stable open day next Sunday.

He said: "Don Cossack has been with Ciaran Murphy in Westmeath and I'm happy to report that he has five weeks of road work done. Not only that but his scans have produced good results.

"With an injury such as this you take it hour by hour but I expect to have him back here in two to three weeks' time."

Elliott is wary of expecting too much, given the severity of tendon injuries. He added: "You're just hoping he'll be okay. If he's not 120pc, you don't take a chance; he'll never be abused. We'll take baby steps. He was paraded at the Curragh on Sunday and I thought he looked great."

Don Cossack is 10/1 for the Timico Gold Cup, having been as short as 3/1 after his victory last year.

Elliott is not buying into the notion that he has the strength in depth - he will have the guts of 50 horses for Gigginstown alone next season - to challenge Willie Mullins for the title in this campaign.

The Meath native, who snared the Kerry National Wednesday with Wrath Of Titans, said: "I've a brilliant bunch this year; I can't wait to get stuck into them. However, I am realistic.

"I would be lying if I said that I didn't dream about it but I've had many second-place finishes; with Willie's ammunition I'll be second again."

Don Cossack's one-time regular jockey Davy Russell is to spend more time in Britain after leading jumps owner Dai Walters secured an agreement with him. Nicky Henderson, Nigel Twiston-Davies and Dan Skelton have horses for Walters.

Irish Independent

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