Thistlecrack to miss Cheltenham Gold Cup after injury flares up
Gordon Elliott’s novice chaser Death Duty also ruled out for the season
Thistlecrack has been ruled out for the season after a leg injury flared up after his run in the King George. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Thistlecrack will miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the rest of the season, assistant trainer Kim Tizzard told At The Races.
The 10-year-old looked a potential superstar when winning the 2016 King George VI Chase but a tendon injury sustained last February saw him miss the 2017 Gold Cup and kept him out of action until December.
A lacklustre return over hurdles was followed by a fourth-place finish on his return to Kempton in the King George, but Colin Tizzard’s inmate is now set for another prolonged spell on the sidelines.
Kim Tizzard told At The Races: “He was a little bit stiff behind after the King George and he’s been off and had X-rays and bone scans – it’s gutting.
“He ran a screamer. He jumped really well and we were getting excited that the old Thistlecrack was still there.
“We were going for the Gold Cup – we’re gutted. Hopefully he’ll have his box rest and come back next season.
“We’re gutted for the team, the owners, everyone. We’ve still got a horse, at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, Gordon Elliott’s highly-rated novice chaser Death Duty has suffered an injury to a hind joint and will also miss the rest of the season.
The seven-year-old, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, won his first three starts over fences, including the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, but fell on his last outing at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Death Duty sustained the problem during the Racing Post Novice Chase, with Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O’Leary suggesting the problem may have occurred before his final-fence fall.
“Unfortunately he’ll be out for the season,” O’Leary said. “I’d say it probably happened earlier than the fall because it is a problem with a hind joint. Hopefully he’ll be back next season.”
Death Duty had been prominent in the Cheltenham Festival betting for both the RSA Novices’ Chase and the JLT Novices’ Chase.