bet365 Racing News
Wednesday 26th September 2018

Last chance for Coneygree

Connections of former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree have admitted he'll be retired if his next comeback doesn't go to plan.

© Racehorse Photos

It has been a frustrating tale for Coneygree since he became the first novice to win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham for 41 years in March 2015 with a courageous front-running display.

Coneygree failed to complete in either start last season, suffering an overreach in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby before his dismal failure in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury was put down to a wind issue.

A stress fracture of his tibia then put an end to plans for a spring campaign. The Mark Bradstock-trained 11-year-old has been given the Champion Chase at Down Royal on 3rd November as a potential early-season target.

He is back in training and working well, according to Sara Bradstock, assistant trainer to her husband, with Ireland the likely first port of call.

"Coneygree is in good form and there's a few different approaches we're taking to try and keep him sound. Everything is going well at the moment anyway, so fingers crossed it stays that way," she said.

"When they've had a stress fracture like he did you can't completely let them down. You have to be a bit careful, but he went out in the field for two weeks and he's now back in fast work.

"I think we're probably going to start him off going right-handed, to take some pressure off his left-hind leg.

"We could look at Down Royal, or there's the open handicap at Ascot on the same day - the Sodexo Gold Cup. The only thing is you'd probably need a lot of rain to be running him in England, which is why we're thinking Down Royal might be more suitable."

Bradstock does however concede that if Coneygree suffers another setback this time around, it will be time to lift stumps.

"If he goes lame again then we'll retire him, but everything is going well at the moment, so fingers crossed it stays that way," she added.

Meanwhile, Might Bite is 2/1 to retain his King George VI Chase crown at Kempton on Boxing Day, with last season's RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy at 14/1 and former winner Thistlecrack currently 16/1.

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