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Binocular ruled out as Joncol's held off

Champion Hurdle hopeful Binocular has been ruled out of the race due to a muscle problem according to trainer Nicky Henderson, which now means Tony McCoy is likely to ride last year's winner Punjabi in the opening day feature.

"He's completely sound but a minor, yet significant, muscle problem has been diagnosed and explains our concerns," said Henderson.

"We feel we don't have sufficient time to treat this in order for him to do himself justice in the Champion Hurdle."

Irish Hennessy winner Joncol has also been ruled out of Cheltenham. Trainer Paul Nolan has opted against going for the Ryanair Chase and will instead target the Guinness Gold Cup at Punchestown.

"The horse will hopefully now go to Punchestown providing that the ground is safe at the time," said Nolan.

"The decision was made before the Hennessy that if he won, we wouldn't go to Cheltenham and we'll wait and give it another year before we go there. We're better off sticking with the plan and that's the reason we're missing Cheltenham."