Trainer Nick Mitchell has been dealt a blow having confirmed that his leading Ultima Handicap Chase hope Lieutenant Rocco is to miss the race.
Since joining Mitchell from Colin Tizzard, Lieutenant Rocco had run well over inadequate trips before opening his account over fences at Ffos Las in some style over three miles.
He was a general second favourite for the Ultima behind Kim Bailey’s Happygolucky but will unfortunately not be lining up.
Mitchell, who has only recently returned to the training ranks, tweeted: “Lieutenant Rocco is to miss Cheltenham this year as he is lame this morning. The extent of the injury is not known yet but he will not be ready in time.
“Such a blow for the owner and the yard but also for the support he has received from the jump racing fans.
“Great boxers hit the canvas and get back up. He’s young and will be back better than ever.”