The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old had been a short-priced favourite for the JLT Novices’ Chase next month.
Conqueror of World Hurdle hotpot Thistlecrack at Punchestown in April, he has won both his starts since switching to fences, most recently benefiting from a remarkable Ruby Walsh recovery after a bad blunder to claim a Grade Two contest at Leopardstown last month.
But a suspensory problem means Festival hopes have been dashed, and Mullins said: “He is unlikely to run again this season.”
Killultagh Vic would have been bidding for a second consecutive Cheltenham victory, having won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle last year in the hands of Luke Dempsey.
- Flemenstar is set to work over the weekend before connections decide whether or not to head for the Betfair Ascot Chase at the Berkshire course on Saturday week.
Trainer Tony Curran reports the 11-year-old to be in fine shape but wants to put him through his paces before making plans.
“He’s in good form. He’s in at Ascot on Saturday week, but we’re not sure yet. He’ll do a bit of work at the weekend and we’ll see how he comes along,” said the County Meath handler.
“He might go, but we haven’t decided yet. It’s just an option. Things are up in the air, we’ll see how he is at the weekend when we’ve worked him.”
Flemenstar, who has had more than his fair share of injury problems, has shown he retains plenty of ability in winning the fourth Grade One of his career at Leopardstown’s Christmas and finishing second to Felix Yonger in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown two weeks ago.
- Victoria Pendleton is set to make her hunter chase debut on Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham on February 19.
Competing over fences under Rules is the next step for the Olympic cycling champion whose ambition is to ride in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next month.
She has already gained experience riding on the Flat and in point-to-points and is now gearing up towards reaching her goal.
Pendleton went very close to winning a point-to-point on Pacha Du Polder recently, when the horse was with Chloe Roddick. The nine-year-old, who was runner-up in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase over the Grand National course at Aintree last season, is now back with Paul Nicholls, who will give the partnership the chance to shine in the William Bulwer-Long Memorial “Grassroots” Fox Hunters’ Chase.
He said: “Fakenham is the logical target after their excellent debut together when they failed by inches to land a point-to-point at Milborne St Andrew. It is important for Victoria to gain experience in a hunter chase before considering a tilt at Cheltenham.