Giant blow for Henderson

JACK THE GIANT will miss the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

As low as 7-1 with bet365 for the Grade One contest, the six-year-old has enjoyed a money-spinning season.

But he suffered a setback after his victory at Leicester which forced him out of the totesport Trophy.

Trainer Nicky Henderson revealed Jack The Giant is now likely to miss the rest of the season.

“We are going to leave him alone. He had a little hiccup,” said Henderson.

“We know he had a little setback after Leicester and he hasn’t quite responded as we would have liked.

“He’s had a fantastic season so far and he has his whole life ahead of him, so we are going to give him some time off and he will be back for next season.

“There is no point taking any chances – he has had a fantastic season already,” said the Seven Barrows handler.

Meanwhile, Francois Doumen would consider running Kelami at the Cheltenham Festival if it looks as though the Racing Post Chase runner-up may miss the cut for the John Smith’s Grand National.

Kelami needed 21 to come out to get into the maximum 40-strong line-up when the weights for the Aintree spectacular were announced earlier this month.

Doumen will have a clearer idea of the 10-year-old’s prospects of a place at the next forfeit stage on March 4.

“He’s not sure to get in the National – 20 is a lot to take away – so I may consider the William Hill Trophy, which he won three years ago, if it looks as though he might not get in,” said the French trainer.

Doumen has another National hope in Kelami’s year younger full brother, the JP McManus-owned L’Ami, who is firstly pencilled in for the William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase.

“I suppose I’ll run L’Ami there before the Grand National to check everything out,” continued Doumen, who could have four other runners at the Festival.

“It will all depend on the ground for Millenium Royal. If it’s not soft enough he will not go for it (the Pertemps Final or the World Hurdle) and we will keep him in France.

“If the ground is not soft, Kasbah Bliss will go for the World Hurdle. There’s also Onnix in the Pertemps and Grand Schlem. He’s in the Triumph Hurdle but the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle is more likely.”

Doumen said Christophe Pieux is set to return to action at Auteuil today after the 15-times French champion hurt his thigh in a fall from Kelami at Sandown earlier this month.

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