Last year’s Grand National runner-up Oscar Time has been ruled out of this season’s race with a leg injury.
The 11-year-old owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and his rider-son Sam went very close to winning in 2011 but had to make do with the runner-up spot behind Ballabriggs.
After reappearing over hurdles at Thurles in November, trainer Martin Lynch had been preparing his stable star for another crack at the great race but it was not to be.
“It’s a big blow but it’s not career-threatening and the main thing is he’s still in one piece,” said Lynch.
“He just has a slight tendon injury. It’s nothing huge, but it’s enough to keep him out for the season, which is obviously disappointing.
“He’d been in tremendous form since his run over hurdles – even better than he was this time last year if anything.
“He’s a horse we’ve minded during his career so hopefully he’ll be back next season.”
Lynch added that the gelding may run in next season’s Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before another bid for Grand National glory.
“We’ll obviously make plans nearer the time, but there’s a possibility he could go down the hunter chase route and go to the Cheltenham before he goes back to Aintree. It’s all up in the air at the minute,” the trainer added.
Robert Waley-Cohen said: “It’s unfortunate and it just shows you how difficult it is just to get horse and jockey to the races at the top of their game.
“We were looking forward to running in the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse as we wanted to get another run into him before Aintree, but we’re going to run out of time.
“He’s lightly raced and it’s not unheard of for a 12-year-old to win the National, so hopefully he’ll still be up to it next year. Fingers crossed.”