Bensalem: beating Carole's Legacy at the 2011 Cheltenham FestivalPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Bensalem ruled out of bid to regain crown
BENSALEM will miss the Cheltenham Festival, and a bid to win the JLT Specialty Chase for the second time, after sustaining an injury, his trainer Alan King said on Wednesday.
The ten-year-old had only returned from 22 months off earlier in February when third to Harry Topper at Exeter and was being prepared for the festival race off the same official rating - 143 - as when he won the opening day handicap in 2011 when run as the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase.
King, who trains Bensalem for Alan Marsh and John Duggan, said: "He is out for the season with a suspensory problem. He worked very well on Saturday but we weren't happy with him a couple of days later and had him scanned last night.
"It is such as shame as we were delighted with his comeback run but often when you patch up one thing, something else crops up."
Bensalem was a 16-1 shot with Betfred to win the JLT Specialty Chase, a race which is headed by Quel Esprit following the release of the festival handicap weights on Wednesday.
Last year's winner Alfie Sherrin has 10st 7lb and ultra-impressive Warwick winner Ballynagour has been given 11st, although he has five other options covering a weight range of 11st 10lb (Martin Pipe Hurdle) to 10st 7lb (Byrne Group Plate and Grand Annual).
Elsewhere Son Of Flicka, who won the 2012 Coral Cup off a mark of 135, gets into this year's race off 137, while Grand Annual entry Kid Cassidy, sent off favourite for the race last year before finishing 12th, has been dropped 2lb from 12 months ago.
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