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Don Cossack will get back to Gold standard, insists Elliott


Set to return: Gordon Elliott with the gifted Don Cossack

Set to return: Gordon Elliott with the gifted Don Cossack

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Set to return: Gordon Elliott with the gifted Don Cossack

Gordon Elliott is more positive than ever about Don Cossack as the brilliant Gold Cup winner nears his return to training.

Gigginstown's striking nine-year-old has been injured since last April and part-owner Eddie O'Leary has been less than optimistic that he might return to his old form, but Elliott has issued a notably upbeat bulletin, with the horse expected back in his barn in around two weeks.

"He is with (fellow Gigginstown trainer) Dot Love," Elliott said. "And Dot says to me that his legs are in brilliant shape. I'm hopeful now.

"His injury wasn't that bad - you get very bad tendon injuries but he gave himself a knock more than anything. Getting a leg injury is always a big worry."

The Meath trainer's main issue at the minute is rider - rather than horse - related. Bryan Cooper, Gigginstown's main jockey, is out for around five weeks with a broken arm.

Jack Kennedy failed a concussion test on Saturday and is thus out for nearly two weeks and Davy Russell is set to face a 17-day ban, which may lengthen at a Turf Club referral hearing.

Elliott said: "We'll use Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty in addition to the team I have. We have David Mullins and Johnny Burke riding out. Keith Donoghue will get opportunities."

The Curragh had its last meeting yesterday before redevelopment commences.

CEO Derek McGrath says he is proud to be a part of its "iconic transformation" which is set to be completed in 2018.

The appropriately named New Direction won the finale, and McGrath added: "The challenge for us is to get people back racing at the Curragh."

Belfast Telegraph