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Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack will not run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day, trainer Gordon Elliott has revealed.
Elliott's charge look primed to challenge Cue Card and Vautour when he crashed out at the penultimate fence last December but recovered to land the blue riband at Cheltenham last month.
Having failed to win the Christmas feature, Elliott has confirmed he will not be returning to Kempton as he does not believe the track suits his stable star.
"He definitely won't go for the King George. Obviously he had to travel and the track is a bit sharp for him round there I suppose," Elliott told At The Races.
"I haven't spoken to Michael or Eddie (O'Leary), but if I had my way we'd go back to Punchestown again for the Grade Three he's won for the last two years.
"Then maybe go to Down Royal (for the JNwine.com Champion Chase) and from there have one run in between that and the Gold Cup."
Meanwhile, the nine-year-old will renew rivalry with Cue Card when the pair meet in the the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup.
Cue Card recovered from his fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup by winning the Betfred Bowl at the Grand National meeting and he will now head to Ireland for his next outing.
"Cue Card has come out of the Aintree race really well and he was so fresh the following day that I couldn't be happier with him. He's not had a hard second half to the season and he seems in as good a shape as he has been all season," Joe Tizzard, assistant trainer to his father Colin Tizzard, said.
"He was also in lovely form the day after the Cheltenham Gold Cup and bounced out of that race and schooled nicely before Aintree. He was in as good as form as he had been all season then and while I didn't think he would be as impressive as he was in Liverpool, he sure ran a massive race. I think he would have won the Gold Cup.
"I'm more than happy with the horse and he's never shied away from anything. The Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup could be a serious race and take nothing away from Don Cossack and Vautour, who have both stood up to everything. We'll find out who the best is at Punchestown.
"I'm having a lot of fun with Gordon Elliott at the moment and it's good for racing and may the best horse win."