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Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree has been ruled out for the remainder of the season through injury, according to reports on Wednesday.
The eight-year-old had been expected to make his return in either the King George VI Chase or the Lexus Chase later this month, but will definitely miss both Christmas features after sustaining an injury.
The injury has yet to be assessed properly but there are fears that he will not return to a track before the end of the season.
"He is injured and will not run in the King George or the Lexus. The Christmas run is out," Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark, reported on Wednesday.
"I've just loaded him on to the horsebox myself and he on his way to Newmarket to be reassessed.
"He is in no distress and walked on to the box sound. The vets at Newmarket will have a good look at him and we'll see what they discover - it will be a day or two before we have any news.
"They'll probably scan him and we'll see what the extent of the damage is.
"We know the engine is there, but the long legs that serve him so well on the racecourse are a little bit fragile.
"Everyone knows I think the world of this horse, which is why we're being careful.
"There will be no corners cut. He will be back, but at this stage I can't tell you when that will be."
Having missed an intended run in the Hennessy Gold Cup, connections had been looking forward to running him over Christmas, with the King George his preferred target, ahead of another crack at the Gold Cup.