The racing weekend once again threw up a number of intriguing storylines with the UK jumps season finale providing the bulk.
But as we approach Ireland’s own climax in the shape of the Punchestown Festival there’s only one story dominating the back pages and that’s the unfortunate omission of Gold Cup hopeful, Don Cossack.
A tendon injury means the Cheltenham hero is out of the showpiece event with doubts also surrounding his long-term future.
Here’s a closer look at that developing story and a few other highlights to look forward to…
Cue Card left topping the bill
With Don Cossack missing, Colin Tizzard’s star chaser Cue Card is out on his own at 1/2 to claim victory in Wednesday’s Punchestown Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ pair of Djakadam and Don Poli are next in the betting at 6s, an indicator of Tizzard’s strong hand with his Aintree hero.
Further competition will come from Carlingford Lough and Road to Riches while Foxrock and Smashing make up the rest of the field.
Sprinter will race on
The fairytale that is Sprinter Sacre’s remarkable comeback continued with his Celebration Chase victory at Sandown on Saturday but according to his trainer that decisive victory will not be the 10-year-old’s last hurrah.
Nicky Henderson has confirmed that the ‘R’ word is certainly not one that’s about to pass his lips.
“He’s 100% and will be going away in a fortnight,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“From our point of view, it (retirement) would be the cowardly way out, we can say we don’t want to put ourselves, or him through it any more.”
Air Force ready for take off?
A huge weekend of Classic action is on the horizon and according to many there’s no stopping Air Force Blue in this year’s 2000 Guineas.
Aidan O’Brien has described his charge as the best two-year-old he’s ever trained and the market has certainly fed off that sentiment with skinny odds of 4/7 about a Newmarket triumph this Saturday.
However, son and former jockey Joseph has been slightly more cautious about AFB’s chances.
When asked the question O’Brien Jnr told the Racing Post’s Monday Jury “you have to remember it is first run of the year his first time trying a mile.”
Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for the others after all?
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