Dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air will not get the chance to try and retain his title this season with his trainer Nicky Henderson announcing that he will not be heading to the festival next week and will instead got to Aintree.
Buveur D'Air landed back to back Grade Ones at the Cheltenham festival in 2017 and 2018 but after that did not have his most convincing season results wise.
Back in 2018 he started his season off in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, as he did the season before putting in his best performance of the season when seeing off superstar Samcro like he was not there.
He then suffered a shock defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day before getting back on track at Sandown in the Listed Contenders Hurdle.
His hat-trick bid in the Champion Hurdle loomed and if it wasn't for suffering his first fall of his career many think he would have picked up the pieces and landed the race that ultimately fell apart.
He headed to Aintree stepping up in trip and could only manage a narrow second to Supasundae but finished his season off in superb style showing that he still holds star ability when taking the Grade One Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown festival and reversing the form with Jessica Harrington's gelding.
Back for his seasonal debut in November 2019 he was odds on to land a third consecutive Fighting Fifth when being chinned by Cornerstone Lad on the line.
It was revealed after the race he had suffered a nasty injury when clattering one of the flights at the northern track and has not been seen since.
Having been off the track for a lengthy period of time he returned at Haydock and it was only a question of fitness for how he would perform and it told in the final stages when not quite having the stamina to get home in his usual style.
Henderson was pleased with that run and was excited about seeing what his veteran could produce in the race he knows so well, but with just a week to go before the race connections the Seven Barrows handler released this statement on twitter.
It said:“Having discussed plans with JP over the weekend, we have decided that Buveur D’Air will NOT run @CheltenhamRaces and instead will wait for @AintreeRaces
“The extra distance will suit him well. He and Epatante are in very good form, and we are very much looking forward to next week.”