2016 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack has been retired after suffering a setback, trainer Gordon Elliott announced on Wednesday morning.
The multiple Grade One-winning chaser produced a career-best to win the Cheltenham Festival showpiece event in March, but since then the nine-year-old has not been seen on a racecourse after picking up a tendon injury, and Elliott wrote on his Betfair blog this morning: "We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg yesterday and we've made the decision to call time. "I said all season that if he had any sort of setback at all we would not abuse him and retire him straight away," added Elliott.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding amassed over £900k during his illustrious National Hunt career, and was the top-rated National Hunt horse in 2015 and 2016, but he will long be remembered for his four-and-a-half length win in last year's Gold Cup, as he cemented his place amongst some of the greats by winning the Blue Riband event at the Cheltenham Festival.
A Grade One-winning novice, the son of Sholokhov blossomed with experience over the larger obstacles and he amassed a quartet of wins in Graded company in Ireland before he was sent off 5/2 favourite for the 2015 Ryanair Chase, but having been hampered at a crucial stage of the race, he could only finish a staying-on third behind Alan King's Uxizandre.
However, it was a return to Prestbury Park a year later that saw him record his finest ever victory, as having gone into the race having fallen late on in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing, he had to prove that he could do the business around the undulations of GL50.
But, he silenced the critics, and while his job was made a lot easier following the fall of Cue Card in the closing stages, under Bryan Cooper he stormed up the famous hill to beat Djakadam emphatically by four-and-a-half lengths, and etch his name in Cheltenham Gold Cup folklore.