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Last year's third Don Poli ruled out of Cheltenham Gold Cup
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Last year's third Don Poli ruled out of Cheltenham Gold Cup
on 10 March 2017
Empire Of Dirt could now switch to Friday's big race in Gigginstown shake-up

Don Poli has been ruled out of next Friday's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup after suffering a setback.

Formerly trained by Willie Mullins, the eight-year-old won the RSA Chase two years ago before finishing third behind Don Cossack in the Gold Cup 12 months ago.

He joined Gordon Elliott prior to the start of this season and while he disappointed on his debut for his new trainer at Down Royal, he had since bounced back with placed efforts in the Lexus Chase and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Don Poli was a general 16/1 shot for the blue riband, but will not be in action at Prestbury Park.

Elliott said in his blog for Betfair: "Unfortunately Don Poli has picked up an injury and will not make it to this year's Festival.

"We are all very disappointed as he was in great form and we were really looking forward to him running."

Despite Don Poli's withdrawal, owners Gigginstown House Stud still have a leading contender for the Gold Cup in the Elliott-trained Outlander.

His stable companion Empire Of Dirt, marginally ahead of Don Poli when runner-up in the Irish Gold Cup, had been targeted at the Ryanair Chase, but Elliott hinted plans could now change.

He said: ''We may reshuffle our deck but I will be discussing that with Eddie and Michael (O'Leary) in the coming days."

Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O'Leary added: "We'll run the horses in the race we feel they have the best chance of winning.

"We're just getting over this news and we don't need to be making any definite plans for the other horses just yet."


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