Don Cossack and Brian Cooper land the Cheltenham Gold CupPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Elliott pencils in January date for Cossack return
GORDON ELLIOTT has tentatively suggested that January could be the month stable star Don Cossack returns to the track, which will be his only start before he tries to win back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups in March providing his recovery from injury continues without mishap.
A four-and-a-half-length winner from Djakadam in this year's Gold Cup, the nine-year-old sustained a tendon injury while being prepared for a shot at the Punchestown Gold Cup in April after his Cheltenham heroics.
While the initial prognosis did not look positive, his recovery has gone to plan so far according to his trainer, who is allowing himself to think about a possible return date for the Gigginstown House Stud-owned chaser.
"He's the best horse I've ever trained and he did us proud at Cheltenham when he showed how good he is on good ground," said Elliott, discussing his stable stars as part of the Racing Post Stable Tours series. "It was such a shame what happened to him before Punchestown, but he owes us nothing.
"His scans have come back perfect and he's done lots of road work with Dot Love. It'll be a case of one day at a time with him and we'll see how he is. If there are any hiccups, we'll retire him."
Thurles could be the starting point
Discussing a potential return, he added: "If things do go according to plan and he keeps improving, we might look at the Kinloch Brae at Thurles in the middle of January as a starting point. It'll be one run and then back to the Gold Cup. But, as I said already, it'll be one day at a time and we won't be taking any chances."
Despite his injury woe, Don Cossack is a top-price 10-1 for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, with only Thistlecrack and Vautour shorter in the betting with some bookmakers.
Read about Gordon Elliott's plans for all his stars, including new recruits Apple's Jade and Don Poli, in Wednesday's Racing Post - available on your iPad from 8pm