Nicky Henderson's Sprinter Sacre will not run at Cheltenham on Sunday due to the deterioration in ground conditions.
The six-year-old is unbeaten in five chase starts and was due to make his eagerly-awaited seasonal reappearance in the Shloer Chase.
But with the ground at Prestbury Park officially changed to soft, heavy in places, the Lambourn trainer told Racing UK: "Sadly this ground has gone against us."
He added: "It's very unfortunate, it's just because it's their first runs of the year. I've got three weeks to the Tingle Creek (at Sandown on December 8) - if he goes and gets a hard race here I've probably blown the Tingle Creek.
"In this ground it would be an awful thing to do, it's not fair on the horse.
"Raymond and Caroline (Mould, owners) and Barry (Geraghty) and I have all come down on the same side.
"He's all ready to go, but we're not going to."
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