Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Don Cossack has suffered a tendon injury while working on the gallops.

The Gordon Elliott-trained gelding was being prepared for a clash with the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card in the Punchestown Gold Cup in Ireland on Wednesday (27 April). But according to his County Meath-based trainer he came off the gallops on Sunday (24 April) “not quite right”.

A tendon injury was later confirmed by the yard’s vet, although it is not yet known exactly how long the son of Sholokhov will need off or indeed whether he will make a return to the track.

Connections of the nine-year-old German-bred — who is owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud — are optimistic he will make a full recovery and his trainer hopes he’ll return to the racecourse. However, the injury to his off-fore is going to result in a substantial period on the sidelines for Gordon’s stablestar.

The trainer, who won the 2007 Grand National with Silver Birch, described the injury as “a blow for everyone involved”.

The eye-catching gelding, who was last year’s highest rated chaser, hit the headlines at the Cheltenham Festival in March when storming to victory in the Gold Cup — following Cue Card’s unfortunate fall in the race.

It was a first Gold Cup triumph for Gordon Elliott and also the gelding’s jockey, 23-year-old Bryan Cooper, who following the race declared Don Cossack “the best I’ve ever sat on”.

His owner Michael O’Leary completed a remarkable double, winning the 2016 Grand National with the Mouse Morris-trained Rule The World just three weeks after Don Cossack’s Gold Cup win.

Don Cossack’s career highlights:

  • He’s had 16 wins out of 27 starts since 2011 — his most prestigious being the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
  • He has total earnings amounting to £907,365.
  • His biggest winning margin was when beating Texas Jack 44 lengths at Thurles.
  • He finished the 2014/2015 season as the highest rated National Hunt horse in the UK and Ireland.