Kicking King will not contest the Cheltenham Gold Cup after straining a tendon during his winning performance in the King George on Boxing Day.

Initially trainer Tom Taaffe believed that the gelding had suffered a knock during the race at Sandown Park, but a scan confirmed that the damage was more serious than initially thought. The horse will not race again this season, although hopes are high that he will return to the track in time for the 2007 Gold Cup.

“The injury is to the upper third of the tendon, which is good news in terms of recovery,” said Taffe. “The 2007 Gold Cup is the target now.”

Kicking King worked hard at Sandown on Boxing Day to win the King George Chase by a neck, ahead of Monkerhostin and Impek. The highly fancied Kingscliff produced a disappointing performance and never really featured in the race after twisting a shoe.

The loss of both Kicking King and Best Mate from the Gold Cup leaves a depleted field in which Beef Or Salmon is the favourite, with Kingscliff close behind in the betting.


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