Connections for Last Instalment, unbeaten in four starts as a novice chaser, have received a blow with the news that the horse will not be seen in action this season.
The eight-year-old jarred a tendon when landing the Grade 1 Dr P J Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown last February and has not run since.
Trainer Philip Fenton on Sunday confirmed that the Gigginstown House Stud-owned dual Grade 1 winner’s comeback will be delayed until later this year at the earliest.
Fenton said: “Unfortunately we discovered a bit of heat in Last Instalment’s near-fore tendon and he is going to need plenty of time off. It was the other front leg that was the problem last season and we’re just hoping that we will have him back at some stage next season.”
Last Instalment achieved the first of his Grade 1 wins in the Topaz Fort Leney Novice Chase at the 2011 Leopardstown Christmas meeting but has been troubled by injury problems of late.
The horse was ruled out of the RSA Chase at Cheltenham last March after suffering a slight injury when winning Sunday’s Dr PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown.
Last Instalment had been as low as 5-1 for the Festival race after taking his unbeaten run over fences to four.
But Fenton said at the time: “He’s not going to run again this season. He was a little sore after Leopardstown, so I thought we would play safe.”
Meanwhile, ahead of the much-anticipated Grand National 2013 in April, Aintree turned to a safe pair of hands on Thursday when appointing Nigel Payne to organise their press and communications ahead of what is seen as a crucial running of the famous spring race.
Payne was press officer for 31 years until 2006 and has been brought back at what he admitted was “a delicate time” following widespread calls for the race to be altered or even banned after the deaths that overshadowed the event in 2011 and 2012.
Payne said his first task would be to streamline operations. “I was there last April and in my opinion there were too many people and when you have too many people there are too many involved to reach a quick decision,” he said.
The Grand National 2013 does look set to be a cracker with so much talent sure to be on show.