Ante-post Arkle contender Le Richebourg will miss the Cheltenham Festival after picking up an injury.
Trainer Joseph O'Brien confirmed the setback via his Betfair blog and it is the latest blow for the big race on the opening day of the meeting. The JP McManus owned chaser had been on the lips of many Cheltenham Tipsters in recent weeks after a stellar season but he will now miss the remainder of the campaign.
The 6-year-old had won four of six races this term but now joins Dynamite Dollars as major contenders who will miss the Arkle with the market shaken up as a result.
The Kayley Woollacott trained Lalor now looks set to start the meeting as the clear favourite for the 2m novice chase ahead of Glen Forsa who has continued to improve on a regular basis this term.
The Mick Channon trained chaser dispatched Kalashnikov last time out at Sandown in good style and they could rematch at Cheltenham.
The loss of Le Richebourg is a blow for Joseph O'Brien and the Irish team in general with Paloma Blue and Duc Des Genievres now looking like being the leading two players from the Emerald Isle for the big race.
O'Brien had been among many peoples outside tip to be the top Cheltenham Festival trainer this season with Triumph Hurdle favourite Sir Erec also in the care of the former flat jockey. The loss of Le Richebourg for the remainder of the season is certainly a major loss though and it has blown an already wide-open Arkle, even further into a muddy betting heat.