Leading Cheltenham hope Jair du Cochet suffered a fatal injury on the gallops this morning and has had to be put down.

The Guillaume Macaire-trained gelding was doing his last piece of work before Cheltenham on the home gallops when the tragedy occurred.

He was a very popular horse in Britain thanks to his stylish jumping and conformation. According to his trainer, the seven-year-old’s Gold Cup preparation had been going smoothly, and as one of the best horses to have beaten Best Mate in the past, he was a well-tipped prospect for the Cheltenham race.

British vet Buffy Shirley-Beavan was at Macaire’s yard vetting some horses, and was invited to go up to the gallops to watch Jair du Cochet’s final preparations.

“This was his last piece of work before Cheltenham and he looked absolutely brilliant. He galloped superbly, like the machine that he is known to be, but when he was pulled up, he was lame in his off-hind.

“I examined him straight away, and discovered that he had a very badly fractured cannon bone, and there was absolutely nothing that could be done. It’s very very sad for everyone concerned. He was a supreme athlete.”

  • Unfortunately Horse & Hound’s Cheltenham preview, which includes a focus on French trainers and talks about Jair du Cochet’s chances at Cheltenham, went to press before the horse suffered his tragic accident