Darlan will not run in the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday, trainer Nicky Henderson confirmed.
The high-class five-year-old was not declared this morning due to the prospect of testing conditions.
"Darlan will not be going to Newcastle. We ummed and aahed about it for a long time, but the decision was taken because of the ground," the Seven Barrows handler told Press Association Sport.
The defection of Darlan, as well as Rock On Ruby, leaves a final field of just four declared runners, headed by last season's Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Cinders And Ashes.
The five-year-old's trainer, Donald McCain, is bidding for a third successive victory in the Group One contest following Peddlers Cross in 2010 and Overturn 12 months ago.
The Charles Byrnes-trained Trifolium, the mount of Andrew Lynch, was just a length and a half behind Cinders and Ashes when third at Cheltenham and reopposes for Ireland.
John Quinn's Triumph Hurdle winner Countrywide Flame reverts to hurdles after having been narrowly denied in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket last month. He will be ridden by Denis O'Regan.
The field is completed by Brian Ellison's consistent handicapper Bothy, who was supplemented for the race on Monday.
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