Racing: Malta may miss Cheltenham

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The Independent Online
CYFOR MALTA, the clear favourite for Saturday's Tripleprint Gold Cup Chase at Cheltenham when betting opened on Monday, looks likely to miss the race. William Hill have removed the five-year-old from their betting for the contest after rumours circulated that all was not well with him. Other bookmakers have suspended their markets while they await information.

Martin Pipe, trainer of Cyfor Malta, was unavailable for comment. The stable's other entry in the race, Northern Starlight, the possible mount of Tony McCoy in the absence of Cyfor Malta, attracted plenty of betting interest yesterday.

William Hill's spokesman, David Hood, said: "We laid plenty of Cyfor Malta at 5-2 yesterday but it seems that he's not 100 per cent and won't run.

Coral have cut the odds on the Pipe-trained Unsinkable Boxer winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup to 14-1 from 20-1 after laying a number of ante- post bets to well known backers.

Tripleprint Gold Cup (Cheltenham, Saturday). William Hill: 11-4 Stormy Passage (from 9-2), 5-1 Simply Dashing (from 6-1), 6-1 Mr Strong Gale (from 13-2), 13-2 Super Coin (from 10-1), 10-1 Dr Leunt (from 12-1), Northern Starlight (from 16-1), Pete The Parson, 14-1 Queen Of Spades (from 16- 1), 16-1 Jibber the Kibber, Mulligan, 20-1 Bertone, Potter's Bay, Senor El Betrutti, 25-1 All The Aces, Philips Woody, Addington Boy.