Connections of Ferny Hollow have confirmed he will miss the 2021 Cheltenham Festival following a suspected stress fracture.
The five-year-old was triumphant at the Festival in 2020, winning the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and was tipped for a potentially strong run at Cheltenham in 2021.
He then won his first race over hurdles last month after narrowly defeating Bob Olinger in the EBF Maiden Hurdle at Gowran Park.
However, subsequent tests have shown up a stress fracture on the Willie Mullins trained five-year-old.
While he was never officially entered, he was planned to run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – the first race of the 2021 Festival.
However, he will now be unable to run in the prestigious meet after also pulling out of a scheduled run at Leopardstown over the Christmas period.
Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud, said on Sunday: “Ferny Hollow has a suspected stress fracture behind. Although nothing is immediately visible on his X-rays, that is often the case with a stress fracture and so we are treating it as such.
“Sadly, he will miss the Cheltenham Festival. We hope he might be able to make it back for Punchestown, but we will have to see. It’s very frustrating but he’s very special, so we’re being conservative with him.”
The favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the 5/1 shot Gordon Elliott-trained Ballyadam, who has been victorious in four of his five races, including each of his last three.
Dusart is next best at 12/1 with Nicky Henderson’s charger successful at Newbury last month.