Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase hopeful Ferny Hollow has been ruled out for the season with a hind tendon injury.
The news comes as another blow to Willie Mullins and owners Cheveley Park Stud, who are also having to be patient with dual Ryanair Chase winner Allaho this season.
Ferny Hollow turns eight on New Year’s Day but has only made the racecourse seven times in his life, although his ability has never been questioned.
Winner of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2020, he beat Bob Olinger on his only start over hurdles the following season before being ruled out for the remainder of that campaign.
He returned after 380 days off the track to win on his chasing debut at Punchestown and three weeks later landed a Grade One at Leopardstown, only for another injury to scupper the rest of last season.
Due to run in the Fortria Chase last month, Mullins took him out on account of the ground and now he is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines once again.
Cheveley Park’s managing director Richard Thompson told the Nick Luck Daily Podcast: “It’s a hind tendon. Willie was obviously starting to work him a bit harder if he was to run over the Christmas period and he obviously couldn’t take it.
“He won us a Grade One last season, so he’d be off since then and before that he’d missed a long time. He’s won two Grade Ones, won the Champion Bumper in 2020 but he’s obviously a delicate horse.
“It’s a real shame obviously. We were really looking forward to him coming out, but we always felt with Ferny he was delicate and therefore it wasn’t a home run to get him back on the course.”
Thompson also provided an update on Allaho, who was ruled out of the first half of the season.
“The last time I spoke to Willie, I think we’re still hopeful of him coming back for a run before Cheltenham and then Cheltenham itself,” said.
“He had six weeks off and that is coming to a close soon, but with all these things you’ve got to be realistic and it is probably 50-50. I’d love to see him have another tilt at the Ryanair and try to win it for a third time.”
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