Nicky Henderson has ruled Top Notch out of the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham next week.
Fifth in the Champion Hurdle to Annie Power in 2015 and second to Yorkhill in the JLT Novices' Chase 12 months ago, the seven-year-old has won the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot and the rearranged Peterborough Chase at Taunton this season.
However, he was last seen finishing fourth in the Ascot Chase won by Waiting Patiently last month, a run Henderson was not happy with.
The Seven Barrows trainer said in a statement posted on his Twitter feed: "Sadly we have had to pull Top Notch out of Cheltenham and he will not run in the Ryanair Chase.
"We have to conclude that his run in the Ascot Chase last time was slightly disappointing and Sarah Shreeve, who rides him every single day, and knows the horse inside out, said she felt he's been a bit too quiet and isn't his usual perky self so we have made the decision t0 skip Cheltenham.
- 13/8 - Un De Sceaux
- 7/2 - Waiting Patiently
- 4/1 - Douvan, Min
- 5/1 - Balko Des Flos
- 7/1 - Cue Card, Yorkhill
- 9/1 - BAR. Odds correct at 1820 GMT on 07/03/2018
"I had to do a little piece of work with him yesterday in preparation for the Ryanair and compared to his usual style it wasn't up to scratch as we all know him so well and if he is trying to tell us something we must take note.
"It is important to point out that there is absolutely nothing physically or clinically wrong with him but you have to go to these race meetings in A1 shape, therefore I think it is better to leave him out of Cheltenham and focus on the likes of Aintree, Sandown and quite possibly France later in the season where there are plenty of options.
"He'll have a week or so on the easy list when we'll freshen him up then he'll be back in business."
On other running plans, Henderson added: "In other news, it is increasingly likely that Terrefort will run in the JLT."