LEADING hurdler The New One will not be having another crack at Faugheen this season after being ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
The high-class hurdler, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, is suffering with a spinal issue but will not require an operation.
Twiston-Davies said: "He's not too bad, but we've stopped him for the season now. He's got a 'kissing spine' but he'll be OK in time. He won't need an operation but we will give him a break."
The New One was set to defend his title in the Aintree Hurdle at the Grand National meeting on April 9 after disappointing in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier this month.
There's better news from the Twiston-Davies yard of Splash Of Ginge, which could tackle the Grand National fences for the first time in next month's Topham Chase.
Local owner John Neild was brought up just a stone's throw from the Merseyside circuit and has always harboured hopes of having a runner in the National itself. While that dream will have to wait, Splash Of Ginge is an obvious candidate for this shorter event, despite a disappointing run in the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham .
He will, however, have other options at Aintree's three-day meeting. "We said after Cheltenham we'd be stepping up in trip on better ground, so we'll see what happens," said Neild.
"We have a few options at Aintree. There's the Topham, the three-mile novice chase on the same day and then there's a three-mile handicap on National day.
"If the ground is quick we'll probably go for one of the three-mile races, but if it's decent jumping ground, we might give him a go in the Topham."
Splash Of Ginge is one of 67 entries for the Topham.
Nicky Henderson won the race for the fourth time 12 months ago with Ma Filleule and has entered Rajdhani Express, Hunt Ball and Golden Hoof this time around.
Paul Nicholls is well represented with a quartet of entries including dual Grade Two scorer Wonderful Charm and last weekend's Newbury winner Rebel Rebellion. Other contenders for the home team include Jonjo O'Neill's Eastlake, Kim Bailey's Festival winner Darna and the David Pipe-trained Monetaire.
The last Irish-trained winner was Cregg House in 2005 and there are 17 entries from this side of the Irish Sea.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins has two possibles in Turban and Ballycasey, though the latter appears a likely runner in the Grand National.
Patrick Griffin is hoping Maggio makes the cut for the National, but Co Dublin-based handler has given him a Topham entry as a back-up option.