Dynamite Dollars To Miss Cheltenham

Dynamite Dollars To Miss Cheltenham

The Paul Nicholls - trained Dynamite Dollars, a leading contender for next month's Racing Post Arkle has been ruled out for the Festival and the rest of season following a training setback.

The six-year-old has been a revelation over fences this season for owner Michael Geoghegan, winning four of his five starts - most notably the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown on Tingle Creek day.

He had beaten two top rivals in the division already - dismissing Lalor in that very contest just named in Esher back in December, before putting an end to Kalashnikov's unbeaten chasing record three weeks later in the Wayward Lad at Kempton.

Nicholls said in his Betfair blog: "Unfortunately Dynamite Dollars has had a minor setback in training which will prevent him running again this season.

"He has taken to fences so well that we had high hopes for him in the Arkle."

Both of those efforts [at Sandown & Kempton] had come on right-handed tracks, which may have proved the weaknesses of both Kayley Woollacott's and Amy Murphy's flag-bearers.

Cheltenham is where it matters though, and Dollars proved most recently at Doncaster that he could race left-handed - his first victory going in that direction since winning on hurdles debut at Chepstow.

Toppling a rating of 155, the gelding had maintained a firm position in the Arkle market, sharing third-favouritism with both Cilaos Emery and Kalashnikov, trailing only Lalor and dual-Irish Grade One winner Le Richebourg in the betting.

Nicholls added: "It is something that happens when you have a big team of horses and hopefully Dynamite Dollars will be back next season.

"You have to try to look on the bright side in these situations. I remember the nightmare when Kauto Star was forced to miss the Arkle after sustaining a hairline fracture.

"I told Kauto Star's owner Clive Smith he might actually benefit from the time off to mature, and that certainly proved to be the case.

"Hopefully it will be the same with Dynamite Dollars, who is an exciting prospect with plenty more to offer."

The money has continued to come for Joseph O'Brien's Le Richebourg - who after the news that he will face one less valuable rival, was cut down to no bigger than 100/30 - 3/1 in some places.

Lalor - next best at 9/2, looks set to go straight to the Festival without a preparation run, with Kalashnikov - a potential in the Kingmaker this weekend (rearranged at Sandown), now clear third favourite at 6/1.

You can read our guide on the Arkle - which remains to be one of the most competitive Grade One's of the week.