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Joncol injury nightmare

By Martin Kelly

Joncol has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a tendon injury during the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown last week.

Paul Nolan's giant staying chaser was considered a major contender as he went in search of his third Grade One prize, but he trailed home seventh of the nine runners.

Nolan initially thought the drying ground might have been partly to blame for his disappointing display, but a subsequent scan revealed a serious injury.

“We had the horse scanned this morning and it has shown he has a 10 per cent hole in a hind tendon,” said the County Wexford-based trainer yesterday.

“We now have a valid reason for his lacklustre performance in the Lexus but, unfortunately, it means the horse is out for the season.

“Straight after the race we thought the ground hadn't helped him, but he's a Grade One-winning chaser and considering he was beaten going to the first fence, there had to be more to it than that.

“To be honest, I've only feared running him on better ground because he is such a big horse.

“He's worked on better ground and worked fine, so I had a fair idea it couldn't have just been the ground the other day.

“He was in trouble from the very first fence, so the injury must have happened running down to that.

“It's a serious injury, but it could have been worse, and we'll just have to give him some time now and see where we are.

“It's very disappointing as I was so looking forward to the season with him, but I'd be hopeful he'll be back for next season.

“Hopefully we can look at running the John Durkan (Memorial Punchestown Chase) and the Lexus again.”

Meanwhile, Colin Tizzard plans to give Cue Card one more outing before having a tilt at the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The high-class hurdler recorded his second victory from four starts over fences with an impressive performance at Newbury on Saturday, beating exciting novices For Non Stop and Walkon comfortably.

The six-year-old has been competing over longer distances so far this season, but Tizzard plans to bring his charge back to two miles for one of the hottest Arkles in recent memory.

“He's come out of the race absolutely fine and I was delighted with him,” said Tizzard.

“I thought he ran a very similar race to how he ran at Newbury the time before. He got touched off last time and this time he won.

“He'll be coming back to the minimum trip now and the Arkle looks the race to target with him. They'll go flat out, so it will be almost like a two-and-a-half-mile race anyway.

“I haven't a clue where he'll run next. I'd imagine he'll just have one more run before Cheltenham and it will be around the end of January, start of February.

“That will mean he'll have had five runs over fences before Cheltenham, which should be enough experience for him.”

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