'punch' blow for festival
Nicky Henderson's Punchestowns has suffered a setback in his preparation for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Last season's World Hurdle runner-up is a leading contender for the contest but drifted in the market following rumours about his participation.
Henderson said: "We have a problem with Punchestowns on his near-fore. A similar thing happened last weekend and we had to take his shoe off, but it cleared up quickly.
"We were going to bring him to work at Newbury on Sunday, but we found him to be lame on his foot again last night. We've X-rayed it and there is nothing there. We will monitor it and let people know how he progresses."
Henderson's other RSA Chase candidate Long Run has taken over from his stable companion at the head of the betting with many bookmakers, and pleased Henderson in a recent schooling session.