Don Cossack set to have Cheltenham prep at Thurles

Don Cossack is set to have his last run before the Cheltenham Festival in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles on January 15.

Don Cossack set to have Cheltenham prep at Thurles

The eight-year-old has been in tremendous form this campaign winning his last three starts, culminating in the Grade One John Durkan Chase at Punchestown.

“He’s in great form and will go for the race in Thurles, the Kinloch Brae in the middle of January all being well. If all goes OK there he’ll go to Cheltenham,” trainer Gordon Elliott said.

“He’s stronger this year, he’s finishing out his races well and we’re delighted the way things are going.”

The Festival target for Don Cossack, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, has yet to be confirmed. He is prominent in the ante-post betting for both the Ryanair Chase and the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Meanwhile Martin Brassil hopes to prepare Double Seven for the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National after he was ruled out for the season due to injury.

The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old won five races in a row last season, including the Munster National at Limerick, and was well fancied for the Aintree showpiece last April.

Ridden by Tony McCoy for just the second time, the 10-1 joint-favourite ran a brave race to finished third, beaten just over six lengths by Pineau De Re, and was high up in the ante-post lists to go two places better.

“He’s out for the season, unfortunately,” said Brassil.

“We’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to get him back in (training) next season and go back to Aintree again, though.

“He’s young enough to go back and he’s on a rating now where Aintree has to be on your mind, especially as he ran so well last year.

“It’s a shame he won’t be there this year but, with a bit of luck, he’ll be back there again.”

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