Fusil Raffles will miss the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival due to the cut he sustained when winning at Kempton on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson’s French import made a huge impression on his British debut, slamming his rivals by upwards of nine lengths in the Adonis Hurdle.
He was swiftly installed as clear second-favourite for the juvenile championship – behind Joseph O’Brien’s red-hot favourite Sir Erec.
However, Henderson immediately pointed out the cut his youngster had suffered after he returned to the winner’s enclosure and has now confirmed his charge is “highly unlikely” to recover in time to run at the showpiece fixture in the Cotswolds next month.
He told his Unibet blog: “Sadly we have had to make a decision where Fusil Raffles is concerned, and I’m afraid it is bad news and highly unlikely that he will make Cheltenham and therefore not get the opportunity to take his chance in the Triumph Hurdle.
“Our team of vets have assessed the situation, and we all agree that he will need at least 10 days’ box rest – which gives us no time to get him right in two weeks.
“The important thing is that he is not lame, but he hit his off hind shin bone and a flap of skin has to be stitched back – and it’s vital that the stitches hold it together, otherwise we could even be forced to miss Aintree.
“It is terribly frustrating and unfortunate as I thought he was extremely impressive on Saturday. But he’s on pain-killers and anti-inflammatories to keep him comfortable, so I hope to have him back in time to run in the same race that We Have A Dream won at Aintree last year (Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle).
“Ironically, the acts of God have done it to us two years running – because We Have A Dream was also forced to miss the Festival. Simon (Munir) and Isaac (Souede, owners) still have Adjali for the Triumph, who I have to say is in excellent form.”