Leading Champion Hurdle contender Saint Roi ruoled out of next month’s Festival after disappointing run
Trainer Willie Mullins has ruled Saint Roi out of the Champion Hurdle at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
The JP McManus-owned six-year-old was expected to be a leading contender after cruising to victory in last year’s County Hurdle.
But since winning on his comeback at Tipperary in October, Saint Roi has suffered three defeats — most recently being beaten over 20 lengths by Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Saint Roi (centre) has been ruled out of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival
Mullins said: ‘Chatting to JP the other day, we came to the conclusion that we’re not happy with him. He’s had one or two little niggles and JP was happy to let him get over those entirely. Maybe they are the reason — maybe not.’
Mullins could still be represented in the Champion Hurdle by last year’s runner-up Sharjah, Saldier and James Du Berlais, a new recruit from France who is yet to make his debut for the stable.
Mullins said: ‘He was bought as a novice chaser for next season but it’s a long time to wait, so we said, “Let’s run in the Champion and have a go”.’