Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack has been retired from racing.
Trainer Gordon Elliott revealed in his Betfair blog that the 10-year-old gelding would not race again.
“I am very sad to report that Don Cossack has suffered a setback and will now be retired,” said Gordon.
“We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg on Monday 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.”
Don Cossack stormed to victory in the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup under Bryan Cooper. After the race Bryan described the horse as “the best I’ve ever sat on”.
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The son of Sholokhov sustained an injury on the gallops at home last April. Following rehabilitation he had returned to training and was entered for the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup before this latest setback.
“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 we’d retire him straight away,” said Gordon.
He added a “peaceful retirement” awaits Don Cossack at Gigginstown.
During his six-year racing career, he won 16 out of 27 starts with his total earnings amounting to £907,365. He finished the 2014/15 season as the highest-rated National Hunt horse in the UK and Ireland. His 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup victory was his biggest win — and also the first victory in this race for both Gordon and Bryan.