Time For Rupert: leg injury brings a premature end to his seasonPICTURE: Getty
Time For Rupert ruled out for the season
PAUL WEBBER, who bounced back to form with a 23-1 double at Lingfield on Tuesday, has been dealt a blow with the news that Hennessy Gold Cup hope Time For Rupert has a minor leg problem that will almost certainly keep him out for the remainder of the season.
The trainer was dealt the bad news by his head lad while driving home after saddling Dunlough Bay and Pepelina to victory. Time For Rupert had been a 20-1 shot for the Newbury race on December 1.
Time For Rupert, who satisfied Webber with his comeback and readying run for Newbury in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby when beaten 21 lengths into fifth by Silviniaco Conti, was diagnosed with a problem on his right foreleg.
Webber said: "My head lad Trevor Heath rang me on the way home from what had been a very enjoyable afternoon at Lingfield to impart the bad news. A scan on the leg revelaed that Rupert has a problem with a suspensory ligament.
"We could patch him up and bring him back for a couple of races in the spring, but I feel a patient approach would be wiser so that we have the horse back for the whole of next season when he'll be aimed at the 2013 Hennessy."
Time For Rupert, a former top staying hurdler who finished runner-up to Big Buck's in the World Hurdle three seasons ago, ran one of his best races over fences when fifth behind the ill-fated Synchronized in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.