Waaheb (left) could be back in time for the Punchestown festival in AprilPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Supreme hope Waaheb ruled out of Cheltenham
WAAHEB, 10-1 joint-favourite with the sponsors for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle, has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival by trainer Dermot Weld.
The five-year-old sat at the top of the betting for the festival opener despite having yet to race over hurdles and Weld said on Tuesday he would not be able to get him ready in time for the race.
"Unfortunately Waaheb has had a few minor hold-ups and it will not be possible to give him an ideal preparation or a race before Cheltenham. Consequently, he will not be running at the festival," Weld said.
"Depending on how he progresses he might be back in action before the end of the season, possibly at the Punchestown festival."
Waaheb won three bumpers last season carrying the colours of his trainer's son, Kris, before being sold to JP McManus. He lost out by a short head to the ill-fated Lovethehigherlaw in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at the Punchestown festival in May and has not run since.
McManus still has a leading hope for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in the shape the unbeaten Nicky Henderson-trained Darlan, who won impressively at Taunton on Monday.