More big names out of Cheltenham

Another two big names have pulled out of the Cheltenham festival with the news that Cliffs of Dover and Identity Thief won’t be taking their place at Prestbury Park.

Cliffs of Dover won’t race again this season, which is a huge blow to Paul Nicholls, who had targeted him at the Triumph Hurdle following his six wins in last seven races.

He won on his last outing in December but he won’t be appearing at Cheltenham, Nicholls has confirmed in his Betfair blog, saying: “Cliffs of Dover will miss the rest of the season after knocking a leg during a schooling session over hurdles just over a fortnight ago.

“I was hoping the injury would have cleared up by now but unfortunately it is a bit more serious than we first thought.

“So he will not be going to Cheltenham for the Triumph Hurdle next month, which is a shame because he has been a revelation since joining us in the summer with a mark of only 64 on the Flat.

“Cliffs of Dover will have a nice long break now before he comes back into training in the autumn and we will aim to have him right for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.”

Another non-runner at Cheltenham will be Henry de Bromhead’s Grade One-winning hurdler Identity Thief.


Michael O’Leary, of owners Gigginstown House Stud, told At The Races: ” He pulled out lame this morning after pulling a shoe off himself in the box last night.

“The frustrating thing is that it probably rules out Cheltenham. We can’t get a prep race in before Cheltenham and we can’t go to the Arkle after pulling up and falling.

“He’s just been unfortunate.”

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