Last year's Gold Cup winner, War Of Attrition, will not be back at Cheltenham in March to try to regain his crown. Though the eight-year-old, who damaged a tendon while being prepared for the Festival in March, is back in work at trainer Mouse Morris's Co Tipperary yard, he is to be given more time to recover from stem-cell surgery.
"He's in terrific fettle," Morris said, "but he won't be running this season. It's not nine months since he had the surgery. It would be rushing to get him back for Cheltenham and we're not going to push him."
One tough campaigner will not be seen again on course. The French Furze, now 13, has been retired after being pulled up in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday, his eighth appearance in the race. "Age has finally caught up with him," said trainer Nicky Richards. "He's been a pleasure to have and I owe him plenty."