Rhinestone Cowboy out for the season.
RHINESTONE COWBOY, ante-post favourite for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, was yesterday ruled out for the season after suffering a leg injury.
The news came as a major blow to owner Sue Magnier and trainer Jonjo O'Neill, for whom the eight-year-old was 9-4 favourite with Coral and 3-1 second best with the sponsors behind Baracouda for the race better known as the Stayers' Hurdle.
'Rhinestone is out for the season,' said O'Neill. 'He's got a leg injury and he's been scanned today. We're going to get it fired, but he's gone for the year, unfortunately.
'It's very disappointing. I'm sick for the owners and sick for young J P [Magnier], who rides him. I'm also pretty sick for myself.
'We were looking forward to seeing him run again this season - the longer trips seemed to suit him and we would have had plenty of options with him, but the Stayers' Hurdle would probably have been his race.
'That's racing. These things happen - a bit too much for my liking this season - but I'm sick just the same. Everyone is.'
Baracouda will be ridden by Tony McCoy on his seasonal debut at Newbury on Saturday after the champion jockey, who dislocated his thumb at Folkestone eight days ago, learned he would be fit to the take the mount.
The French star is set to run in the Long Distance Hurdle, which he won last year.
The Grade 2 contest has been reopened until today.
McCoy visited hand specialist Ian Lowdon yesterday and satisfied him that the thumb had recovered, which should enable him to resume riding before the end of the week.
McCoy said: 'I went to see the specialist today and he was very happy with my thumb. I'm going back tomorrow to see how he can strap it up to give me support and, if that's okay, I will be back riding maybe Wednesday or Thursday, hopefully.
'Because I had a hand specialist deal with the problem, I shouldn't have to pass the doctor.
'The injury was only to the tip of the thumb and the bottom of the joint is fine. I have full movement around the bottom of the thumb but I will need a support on it for a week or two at first.
'I'm very much looking forward to riding Baracouda and First Gold. I've had a very average last two Saturdays, missing both days, and I'm ready to get back into things.'
LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE
Ladbrokes: 5-2 Baracouda, 3 Rhinestone Cowboy (doubtful), 10 Crystal d'Ainay, Fundamentalist, Monet's Garden, Royal Rosa, 12 Monkerhostin, Sacundai, 16 Sh Boom, 20 bar.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Nov 23, 2004|
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