Gold Cup winner on course for return
So far so good is the line from Gordon Elliott on this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, with the trainer continuing to believe the nine-year-old can return to action.
Don Cossack suffered a career-threatening tendon injury in April, with owners Gigginstown House Stud cautious about whether he could resume racing, but speaking on Thursday night Elliott was positive over his prospects.
"Don Cossack came back into the yard last week and it's fantastic to have him back," said Elliott.
"All his scans have been perfect and all roads lead to the Gold Cup now. I hope to get one run into him before then, but I don't know where."
Don Cossack was not given an entry for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton earlier in the week, when entries closed, and it could be that Elliott is thinking more in terms of 2017 for a return. Bookmakers are taking no chances of him triumphing over adversity, quoting him at general 8-1 third favourite for the Timico-sponsored Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Stablemate Diamond King is on course for a crack at the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on December 4, his trainer revealed.
Elliott said: "Diamond King could be top-class over fences and the Drinmore is the plan."
Elliott was speaking at a jumps preview event to launch the seasons at County Meath tracks Fairyhouse and Navan, which drew a crowd of more than 300 to the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim.
Noel Meade, Paul Carberry, Gavin Cromwell and Robbie Power – who like Elliott all hail from Meath – were also on the panel, with Power suggesting Woodland Opera could develop into a nice novice chaser, while Cromwell issued a positive bulletin on his dual Grade 1 winner Jer's Girl.
Racecourse managers Peter Killeen (Navan) and Peter Roe (Fairyhouse) outlined the schedules for the season ahead, and charity bets were donated by Barney O'Hare of Bar One Racing, with any winnings going towards the Irish Injured Jockeys Fund.
It is hoped that the event will become an annual fixture in the calendar.