Gold Cup hopeful Monkfish ruled out for the season
- We bring you the news that Monkfish will miss the 2021/22 National Hunt season
- Willie Mullins star has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals
- Mullins revealed he'd suffered a tendon injury and would not be seen this season
- Ireland's Champion trainer also said that former Ryanair winner Min had been retired
Paul Townend riding Monkfish celebrates victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2020. (Getty)
Willie Mullins disappointed many horse racing fans on Tuesday evening, when he announced Monkfish would miss the entire 2021/22 National Hunt season.
Monkfish has entered the winner's enclosure at the last two Cheltenham Festivals. In 2019, Mullins' star claimed a hard-fought victory in the Albert Bartlett, before grinding out another win in the Festival Novices' Chase earlier this year.
Despite a surprise defeat at the hands of Colreevy on his final outing at Punchestown, Monkfish had sat atop the betting for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Bookmakers have been forced to scratch his name from the betting today, though, after Mullins delivered his injury update.
Speaking to the press at Listowel, Mullins said, " “Unfortunately, he (Monkfish) has an issue with a tendon and it requires the season off.”
Defending champion, Minella Indo is now the clear favourite to defend his Gold Cup crown in 2021. A Plus Tard sits second in the ante-post betting, with Envoi Allen, Chantry House and former two-time Cheltenham hero, Al Boum Photo also sitting below 20/1 in the current Gold Cup market.
A week after Nicky Henderson announced Altior had been retired, Mullins also told the press that Altior's old sparring partner, Min has also run his last race.
“He (Min) suffered an injury in this year’s Ryanair which we operated on." Mullins revealed.
"We were hoping to get him back for this season but unfortunately it hasn’t come right for racing but he’s heading to a very good home to make an excellent riding horse for them.”
Having finished behind Altior on a number of occasions, Min finally landed a Cheltenham Festival prize of his own by winning the 2020 Ryanair Chase. Min bows out having collected six Group One honours over fences, and his emphatic victory over Politologue in the 2019 Melling Chase at Aintree will live long in the memory.