Owner Michael O’Leary admits he fears the career of Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack is over after the horse sustained a tendon injury.
The nine-year-old was ruled out of this week’s Punchestown Festival due to his tendon issue and while trainer Gordon Elliott remains hopeful of getting his stable star back to the track, O’Leary believes Don Cossack is facing an uphill battle.
O’Leary said: “I fear he has had it. It would be very difficult for him to come back ever.
“Gordon and the team want to bring him back but what will make it extraordinarily difficult is that he is nine. With a tendon you generally have to take a year off and if you do at nine, you come back to a Gold Cup at 10 or 11.
“Horses don’t come back (from this sort of injury). He would be running in a Gold Cup at that age with interrupted preparation with his leg. I think it is unlikely, but Gordon will leave no stone unturned.
“That is why I say you should enjoy a Gold Cup when you win one, because very rarely do they ever come back.”
Meanwhile David Wachman hailed Legatissimo “the best I’ve trained” after confirming the top-class filly has been retired.
The four-year-old enjoyed a fantastic campaign in 2015, running in six Group One events and never finishing outside the first two at the highest level.
She claimed Classic glory in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket before being beaten just a short-head in both the Oaks at Epsom and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer went on to land the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown before rounding off the year by finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.
Wachman said: “She had a setback in the spring and the decision has been made to retire her, unfortunately.
“We were lucky to have her. She’s been a wonderful filly for us.
“Lots of days stand out for lots of different reasons, some good and some bad.
“I’d have to say she’s the best (horse) I’ve trained. She’s been so consistent and so versatile.”
Legatissimo won five of her 11 career starts and earned over £1.1million in prize-money.
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