Gigginstown dealt a blow
De Bromhead's Grade One winner Valseur Lido is ruled out of Cheltenham Festival
Following Tuesday's news that Don Cossack's racing career was over, Ireland's champion owners were dealt another blow yesterday with Valseur Lido being ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival and the remainder of the season.
The Grade One winner was yesterday in Fethard Equine Hospital recovering from a knock sustained on trainer Henry de Bromhead's gallops during his routine work.
Valseur Lido began the season by winning the JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on what was his first start for de Bromhead and then went to Leopardstown to finish fourth behind Outlander in the Lexus Chase.
Connections admitted their disappointment at that effort after the race but were keen to let him take his chance in the Irish Gold Cup at the same venue next month prior to this setback which comes just a couple of days after he had been entered for both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Ryanair Chase at The Festival.
Valseur Lido was a general 20/1 shot for the Gold Cup and 10/1 for the Ryanair Chase and Gigginstown's House Stud's racing manager Eddie O'Leary said: "He's at the equine hospital now. As injuries go it's not that bad, we don't think.
"However, he'll definitely miss the rest of the season, I'd have thought."
The Gigginstown team are doubly represented in the feature race of the day at Punchestown this afternoon but the task of ending Willie Mullins' domination in the race is an unenviable one.
Mullins has won the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle with Mozoltov, Vautour, Douvan and Min over the last four years and relies on Crack Mome today, a horse Patrick Mullins holds high hopes for.
"He's a horse that shows an awful lot at home. He wasn't that impressive in Clonmel, but we'd be expecting him to improve a lot from that and we're looking forward to running him.
"It's a race with a Grade One roll of honour and he's got a lot to live up to," said the leading amateur jockey who is assistant to his father.
For Waterford based Margaret Flynn, today could be a red letter day if Dr Mikey can provide her with the biggest success of her career.
Dr Mikey brings some solid form into the race and won a maiden hurdle at Cork in good style last month but this is an obvious step up in grade.
Flynn said: "It is a step up, but he's in great form and we're hoping he'll run well.
"We are used to point-to-pointers and, from the first day we cantered him, we knew he had an engine. He just travelled a lot easier than anything we have ever had.
"I think if he handles the ground tomorrow and switches off he should have a great chance. Things just have to his way a little bit but he is in great shape."
There's a fascinating beginners chase to begin with in which Mall Dini is expected to open his account over the larger obstacles on his way back to the Cheltenham Festival where he won the Pertemps Final last season.
For the second weekend in a row Willie Mullins has no bumper runner but his son Patrick will continue his pursuit of his amatuer title by riding Martello Park for Mags Mullins.
Martello Park is a sister to her Grade One winner Martello Tower and she warrants plenty of respect but may find one too good in Noel Meade's Ladysingstheblues who was second behind the highly touted Redhotfillypeppers at Punchestown on New Year's Eve.
Tomorrow at Fairyhouse Barry Geraghty looks to have a good chance of claiming the feature Dan Moore Chase at his local track.
Peoples Park was a course and distance winner before Christmas and then went to run in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown.
He was fancied to run a big race that day but the further trip and the hustle and bustle may have just been a negative for him and back over 2m1f and in a small field, Peoples Park can return to the number one spot.