Arkle favourite Ferny Hollow ruled out of Cheltenham

Ferny Hollow has been ruled out of the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Willie Mullins-trained gelding has a sore suspensory and connections have decided not to run him again this season.

The seven-year-old was a short-priced favourite for the two-mile novice championship in March after winning both his starts over fences, including the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown last month.

“He came home very sore after Leopardstown and we gave him a break. He started back cantering and he got sore again, so we’ve decided to put this season on hold,” Mullins told the PA news agency.

“We’ve had a good time with him. He’d won his beginners’ chase and a Grade One, so we’ve a lot to look forward to.”

Ferny Hollow could have been prepared for the Punchestown Festival at the end of April, but the Cheveley Park Stud-owned star will be put away for the rest of this campaign.

“It’s just a sore suspensory, but we don’t think there’s any damage to it,” Mullins went on.

“The scans are clear and everything, but he’s just feeling it a little bit and being a chaser we didn’t feel like going on to Punchestown with him.

“We had plenty of time to get him ready for Punchestown, but after discussing it with the owners we felt the best option might be to give him down time until next season.”

Ferny Hollow following victory in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham
Ferny Hollow following victory in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Ferny Hollow won the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2020 but was subsequently off the track for 254 days.

He returned by winning his sole start over hurdles when accounting for Bob Olinger at Gowran in November 2020. He was then sidelined for 380 days before winning the first of his two starts over fences at Punchestown in early December.

He remains the only horse to beat the Henry de Bromhead-trained Bob Olinger.

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