Highly fancied Irish star Don Poli has been ruled out of the Gold Cup through injury which could see highly fancied stablemate Empire of Dirt switched for the big event.
The one time winner of the RSA Chase was placed in the Gold Cup last season whilst with Willie Mullins.
He was one of a number of horses switched to Gordon Elliott before the season and he had shown some decent form, including a good run in the Irish Gold Cup.
General listed as a 16/1 shot for the blue riband event at Prestbury Park, he has now suffered an injury and will not make the trip across the Irish Sea.
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.”
With Don Poli sidelined, Elliott confirmed that Empire of Dirt could be switched from the Ryanair Chase to go for the Gold Cup.
”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.”
Empire of Dirt has already been cut to 10/1 by BetVictor for the big race.