Saint Calvados forced to miss weekend return

Saint Calvados faces a spell on the sidelines due to a bout of blood poisoning following an infection.

The Andrew and Kate Brooks-owned seven-year-old has been sent to the Donnington Grove Equine Vets, near Newbury, after trainer Harry Whittington discovered the setback on Saturday.

Last season’s Ryanair Chase runner-up was being readied to make his return to action next Saturday in either the Betfair Chase at Haydock or the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot on the same day.

Whittington said: “Saint Calvados has a bit of septicaemia from an infection. We found he had the infection and a high temperature last night during evening stables.

“We are not sure where the infection came from. There is a small overreach but we are not sure it is that as it could be a pin prick somewhere.

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“As a precaution we have sent him to the Donnington Grove Equine Vets. He will spend a few days there as it is the best place for him.

“They can get on top of the infection and if there is anything else untowards they have the resources to find it.

“It means he will not be running next weekend, which is frustrating as he did a lovely piece of work. “

The Sparsholt handler has not ruled out running Saint Calvados over three miles for the first time in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

He added: “We want to make sure he is okay first before running. Hopefully he will be back in a few days but he will probably need a couple of easy weeks before we can get on with him.

“He is in the King George and whether that rules him out of that I’m not sure, but that will be Andrew’s decision. Hopefully all being well, we should have him for the second half of the season.”

An outing in the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton could be on the agenda for Rouge Vif after he was taken out of Sunday’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham due to the soft ground.

Whittington added: “It doesn’t really make sense running him on that ground at Cheltenham as it will be proper hard work in those conditions so we will wait for better ground.

“What we go for next I’m not sure, Andrew will have the final say. He is in the Tingle Creek but it is likely to be soft ground there.

“The Desert Orchid at Kempton is more likely as he always runs well at that meeting as he has been runner-up there two years in a row.”

Plans remain fluid for Simply The Betts, who suffered only his second defeat over fences when finishing sixth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

He added: “He made an error at the water and he just lost his confidence a little bit after that. Gavin (Sheehan) said he galloped home really strongly.

“He has come out of it fine but we will just let the dust settle before we decide what to do next. We will discuss things over the next few days as there is no rush to make a decision.”

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