Coneygree faces race against time to make Gold Cup

Thu 29 Dec 2016

Coneygree will not run again before attempting to regain his crown in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Mark Bradstock's 2015 Gold Cup hero ran an excellent race in defeat on his return from over a year on the sidelines when runner-up to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

Connections were looking forward to a rematch in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, but Coneygree was ruled out of the Boxing Day spectacular following an unsatisfactory workout.

The trainer's wife, Sara Bradstock, has revealed the nine-year-old is now in a race against time to be fit enough to run in the blue riband on March 17.

"He's good and we're hoping he'll be ready to run in the Gold Cup, but he won't run before then," Bradstock told Press Association Sport.

"He's fine, but it came out in the wash that he's jarred himself a little bit. It's not a serious injury, but as we all know, while he is a miracle horse, he is fragile.

"You never really know with him, but I'm hopeful he'll make the Gold Cup.

"We'll walk him now for a month until he's super-well and then we'll see where we are.

"He'll be fine by the time the Gold Cup comes around, the question is whether we'll have him ready."

Bradstock was an interested observer as Cue Card proved no match for hugely impressive stable companion Thistlecrack in the King George.

Colin Tizzard's charge is now odds-on with some bookmakers for the Gold Cup, but Bradstock would not be afraid to take him on with Coneygree.

She said: "I don't think the King George told us much, really.

"Thistlecrack did what he did beautifully, but what did he do?

"Cue Card is a wonderful horse, but he has a few miles on the clock and I think he showed when he ran at Wetherby (third in Charlie Hall Chase) that he's not as effective on good ground as he is on soft.

"He just beat Silviniaco Conti for second and he was miles behind him at Haydock.

"We wouldn't be frightened to take Thistlecrack on, anyway.

"If we can get Coneygree there at the top of his game, he'll be up for the challenge and we'll try and show him who's boss!"

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