The Paul Nicholls Grand National hopeful, Rocky Creek, had recently been withdrawn from the Cheltenham Gold Cup after being found to be suffering from ringworm with the 25/1 contender now set to go straight to Aintree and take his chances in the 2014 Crabbies Grand National instead.
An incredible eight-year-old who has returned a win and/or a place in all seven of his chase starts, including the Mildmay Novices at Aintree, the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Argento Chase at Cheltenham, Rocky Creek is a general 25/1 with Paddy Power for the National.
Paul Nicholls writing in his Betfair blog said: “The good news is that it is treatable in time to re-route him to the Grand National once again, and we will now prepare him for Aintree.
“It is just incredibly disappointing that it has happened to a high-profile horse before a big race this time.
“We originally thought it was heat lumps but they got a lot worse and about a quarter of his body is now affected with it. It was confirmed as ringworm yesterday.
“Of course, it is hugely frustrating as I thought he was going to Cheltenham with a live outside chance in the Gold Cup, but it is not an injury as such and we still have a big target to aim him at this season.”
Paul Nicholls still has seven horses in contention for the 2014 Grand National including Tidal Bay, Hawkes Point, Sire Collonges and Kauto Stone with six of them looking like they will almost certainly get an entry on the day if they stay in.