THE odds on Coneygree defending his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown in March appeared to be lengthening on Saturday, although connections remain confident his absence would only postpone future success in jumping’s blue riband showpiece.
Coneygree, who was being aimed at the William Hill King George VI Chase or Lexus Chase, was ruled out of both Christmas assignments on Wednesday with a hock injury and has since been under the care of Ian Wright at Newmarket Equine Hospital.
‘He’ll be back’
Trainer Mark Bradstock’s wife Sara said: “All the tests they are doing are proceeding well and I am very much hope we will have him home for Christmas. By the middle of the week we will have sat down with Ian and decided exactly how long we are going to give him and what we are going to do.
“There is no question that he won’t get better, I am happy to say that. I’m pleased to say the prognosis is very good; it is just a matter of making sure we rehab him as best we can because, as you know, he has had quite a lot of time off before so we can get him back and win another Gold Cup hopefully.”
Bradstock, whose late father Lord Oaksey bred Coneygree, added: “The question is whether it is going to be too much of a rush for this season, and that is why we are spending a lot of time and money trying to make sure we do everything right to support his fragile back legs.”
Djakadam, Don Cossack, Don Poli and Vautour are vying for favouritism in the Gold Cup, which will be sponsored by information and communications technology provider Timico for the first time this season.