ARKLE favourite Le Richebourg has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival.
Joseph O’Brien’s star chaser has suffered a setback and will miss the rest of the season.
The six-year-old was the general 5-2 favourite for the Arkle on the opening day of the Festival.
Victories in two Grade 1 races at Leopardstown had propelled him to the top of the 2m novice chase division.
O’Brien announced the shocking news through his Betfair blog.
O’Brien said: “Unfortunately, Le Richebourg will not run in the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival and will miss the rest of the season.
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“He worked routinely on Saturday, but we weren’t happy with him afterwards and further investigations this morning have revealed that he has picked up an injury that rules him out for the rest of the season.
“It is very disappointing for everyone here, as he has been brilliant all season and we were very much looking forward to seeing him in action at Cheltenham.
“We hope that he will return to the track next season and pick up where he left off.”
Lalor is the new 3-1 favourite for the Arkle, which will be staged on 12 March.