VENETIA Williams’ Gold Cup veteran Royale Pagaille fell at the last when contending the Cheltenham Cotswold Chase and is now a doubt for the March Festival itself.

The Wye Valley trainer, who saw him win the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, told the Racing Post: “He’s quite sore, I’m afraid... I think we’re going to struggle to get him ready for Cheltenham. It’s not career-threatening, it’s just the timing.

“I thought he was running very well. He was just outpaced turning for home, but he switched to the outside and was staying on very well. 

“One can speculate what would have happened if he had kept his feet on landing after the last, but he was running a good race.”

The horse has raced three times in the Gold Cup finishing sixth , fifth and sixth in the last three races.

But Venetia's yard - based at King's Caple near Ross - also has L'Homme Presse, who returned from 391 days on the sidelines to beat Protektorat handily in the Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield last month as another potential Gold Cup contender.