Superstar Altior has been ruled out the Champion Chase on Wednesday where he was looking to land a hat-trick in the event and his fifth consecutive winner at the Cheltenham festival.
Nicky Henderson on Sunday morning revealed that the horse of a lifetime was lame in his stable after a dormant splint that had never caused a problem to the 10-year-old before had a risen.
The Seven Barrows trainer released another statement yesterday that explained that if the race was on Monday that he would not be racing but over the 24 hour period he had improved a lot.
However, at the 24 hour stage Henderson and his team made the call to pull him out if the contest with his improvement not being enough for him to enter the contest and run his normal free flowing race.
Speaking to the PA news agency the trainer said: “What is really disappointing is the improvement from the night before last to yesterday morning was so good that we were genuinely optimistic that, as long as that recovery rate was maintained, we figured he’d be sound this morning, and that is not the case.
“It’s flattened off, he hasn’t improved at all from last night, whereas the night before he improved dramatically. Consequently I think it’s only right now that he will be taken out of the race.”
He added: “It’s brutal – it’s not an issue that has ever bothered him before, he’s never taken a lame step in his life. The timing is just ridiculous, but that’s what we say every year – you know something will come and bite you, but there are certain ones that are a bit bigger than the rest.
“It’s very cruel, and cruel on everybody to be fair. To get him back from that race at Ascot to where he is now – he’s been in such brilliant form, but he won’t be there to show it.”