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Gigginstown still have four in running for tilt as festival showpiece

Empire Of Dirt could be a Gold Cup dark horse for Gigginstown
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Gigginstown House Stud will be heading to the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup in March without their two main contenders but they could still have as many as four runners according to racing manager Eddie O'Leary.

After being forced to retire their defending champion Don Cossack last week, Gigginstown were dealt a second Gold Cup blow when a gallops injury ruled Valseur Lido out for the remainder of the season. 

However, they still have a further seven entries in the race and O'Leary on Monday suggested that, while Outlander and Don Poli were now their main hopes, they could yet be joined by Empire Of Dirt and Road To Riches on March 17.

O’Leary said: “Outlander will go straight to the Gold Cup but Don Poli will need one more run before Cheltenham and he is on course for the [Stan James] Irish Gold Cup for his next run.”

That race, at Leoparstown on February 12, is also the target for Empire Of Dirt and Road To Riches.

O'Leary added: “Empire Of Dirt is too high in the ratings for handicaps now so he goes for the Irish Gold Cup. Now I hope the handicapper is right, but we will know more after Leopardstown and then we will start thinking about Cheltenham for him.”

“Road To Riches will need to improve on his run in the Lexus before we start thinking of bringing him back for a Gold Cup - but hopefully he can.”

O'Leary had a positive update on Valseur Lido, who has undergone surgery on his fractured a cannon bone.

He said: “The operation went as well as you could have hoped and he should be perfect next season.”


The handicapper seems to think he is a good horse, so we will go to Leopardstown and find out
E.W. Terms