Sprinter Sacre, viewed by many as the horse likely to rule the two-mile fencing division this season, will not run at Cheltenham today due to the deterioration in ground conditions.
The six-year-old is unbeaten in five chase starts and was due to make his eagerly-awaited seasonal reappearance in the Shloer Chase.
But with the ground at Prestbury Park officially changed to soft, heavy in places, trainer Nicky Henderson said: "Sadly this ground has gone against us. He's all ready to go, but we're not going to."
Instead, Sprinter Sacre's next run is expected to be in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on December 8.
The six-year-old went through his novice season unbeaten and never came off the bridle in winning the Arkle and the Maghull Novices' Chases in the spring. Henderson is expecting big things this term but admits he is nervous when watching him run.
"I'd rather have him than not have him, he's very exciting," he said. "I think of everyone who watched him last year I was the one who probably didn't enjoy it. He's great to watch, he's flashy, showy and very exciting."