Winner of the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup Don Cossack has been retired from racing.
Trainer Gordon Elliot confirmed in a blog for Betfair that the horse suffered setback while recovering from a tendon injury and was retired as a result.
It had been hoped that the 10-year-old would be ready for a return at this year's Cheltenham festival where he would face off against Thistlecrack.
I am very sad to report that Don Cossack has suffered a setback and will now be retired.
We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg on Monday and we've made the decision to call time.
It's a real sickener for Gigginstown, myself, Bryan Cooper and the whole yard. We knew it was never certain we would get him back to the racecourse and even after that, to get him back to his best, but we were hopeful and he was on track for a run at Gowran Park next month.
He's a horse of a lifetime and he owes us nothing. I said all season that if he had any sort of setback at all we would not abuse him and we'd retire him straight away.
He won Grade 1s at Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown, Fairyhouse and Down Royal. He was the top-rated horse in Britain and Ireland for the last two seasons running and we'd have loved to see him take on Thistlecrack in the Gold Cup. It would have been a cracking race. But that's racing, as they say, and we have to let that go now and find something else to take on Thistlecrack.
It was one of the highlights of my career when Don Cossack won the Gold Cup for us last year and he retires a champion.
As I said already, he owes us absolutely nothing and a peaceful retirement awaits him out in Gigginstown.
Don Cossack won 16 of 27 races in his career.
BREAKING NEWS: Don Cossack, the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, has been retired after suffering fresh setback. pic.twitter.com/9r5HbvwIBu
— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) January 11, 2017