Don Poli, third in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup last year, will miss this year’s renewal at Prestbury Park after suffering an injury.
Switched to Gordon Elliott’s County Meath yard this year from Closutton handler Willie Mullins, Don Poli was pulled-up at Down Royal on his seasonal reappearance in the Grade One Jnwine.com Champion Chase before finishing second to Outlander in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December.
The eight-year-old gelding was a one and a half-length third to Sizing John in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last time after leading for most of the race and was touted as a potential each-way player at a general 16/1 for Racing’s Blue Riband event at Cheltenham next week.
Don Poli had good course form at the Cheltenham Festival, having won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the 2014 meeting, before following up with a six-length victory in the RSA Chase in 2015 under Bryan Cooper. The gelding stayed on well in the Gold Cup last year to finish third to Don Cossack, also owned by Gigginstown House Stud.
However, Elliott has had to rule the Irish-bred gelding out of the contest after meeting with a setback. The trainer revealed in his Betfair blog:
Unfortunately Don Poli has picked up an injury and will not make it to this year’s Festival. We are all very disappointed as he was in great form and we were really looking forward to him running.