Finian's Rainbow is to swerve the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day because of the soft ground.
Nicky Henderson will be represented by Long Run and Riverside Theatre in the Grade One showpiece, with the Queen Mother Champion Chase hero giving it a miss.
"After long deliberations and long thoughts I think Finian's Rainbow is going to stay at home," Henderson told At The Races from Ascot.
"He told us here at the last meeting that ground wasn't his type and I always thought that was the case with him. It's sad because when he won at Aintree last year we felt the King George was his sort of race.
"We were dying to up him to three miles and still will, just not in this ground. I've spoken to Barney (Clifford, clerk of the course at Kempton) this morning and to Michael Buckley (owner).
"It's not going to tell us anything except probably disappoint us and put us back into a quandary. Therefore the team is from three to two - Long Run and Riverside Theatre will both run."
David Bridgwater could turn to Tony McCoy for his King George hope The Giant Bolster.
Runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the seven-year-old made a satisfactory return to action when third to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.
He was ridden on Merseyside by Tom Scudamore, who has been on board for eight of the gelding's last nine starts, but the jockey would be required to ride Grands Crus for David Pipe should he take his chance.
Bridgwater said: "He's Tom's ride, but if Grands Crus runs he has to ride that, end of story. It's all up in the air, but I've been talking to (agent) Dave Roberts over the possibility of AP McCoy being free."
17 January 2017Australian jockey Josh Cartwright set to learn fate after riding drama
Richard Fahey anticipating northern support for returning Paul Hanagan
Sire De Grugy skips Clarence House outing at Ascot
Michael Buckley enthused by Brain Power's Ascot performance
Yanworth to tackle Contenders heat with Cheltenham in his sights
Charlemar set to step up in trip following Tolworth disappointment
Petit Mouchoir to face Champion test at Leopardstown
Un De Sceaux team pinpoint Ascot nous as key strength in Clarence House Chase
Bastien blazes a trail to pocket Plumpton prize for Alan King
Fit-again Noel Fehily back in action at Exeter
Godolphin dominate fast-track qualifier as Antiquarium roars at Wolverhampton
Harry Fry guarded against Cleeve complacency for Unowhatimeanharry
Colin Tizzard set to unleash Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Alary at Haydock
Harry Fry plans to chart direct Cheltenham Festival route with American
Gordon Elliott looking to Irish Gold Cup with Empire Of Dirt
Willie Mullins hoping Faugheen will make Irish Champion return
16 January 2017Jan Faltejsek ends British drought as Fairlee Grey strikes at Ayr
Tributes paid after death of Fakenham maestro Cool Roxy
No plans for Dougie Gittens to appeal against Kelso ban
Un De Sceaux spearheads Clarence House octet at Ascot
Vezelay on course for Cheltenham Trial
Dunphy and Logan banned for two years following Like A Diamond case
Connections mulling Arkle outing for Identity Thief at Leopardstown
Gary Moore lining up Banks raid with Benatar
Amateur rider Dougie Gittins hit with 10-day ban at Kelso
Ballyoisin makes amends for recent fall
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has his say on Kempton closure plans
Jack Kennedy shines as Ball D'Arc keeps up title momentum for Gordon Elliott
Barra banks maiden win at Fairyhouse
Grand National contender One For Arthur excites Peter Scudamore
Jonjo O'Neill on Leopardstown Gold trail with Minella Rocco
Neil Mulholland considers Cleeve Hurdle for Grand National hope The Young Master
Seamus Mullins could go Flat out with Fergall
15 January 2017My Manekineko set to take Leopardstown plunge
Ball D'Arc proves too good in Dan Moore Memorial at Fairyhouse
John Francome criticises Jockey Club proposals to close Kempton
'Sore' Noel Fehily ruled out of Fairyhouse action
Kelso receives go-ahead
Noel Fehily 'sore' but clear of injury after Warwick spill
One For Arthur powers to Classic Chase glory at Warwick
Willoughby Court impresses for Grade Two honours at Warwick
Tobefair continues winning spree at Warwick
Modus makes no mistake in Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton
American stars in Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick
Any Second Now floors hotpot Crack Mome at Punchestown
Frost and snow puts paid to Fakenham Sunday card
Fine Rightly looking to show his class at Kelso
Murphy sets sights on Moore glory with Pairofbrowneyes
14 January 2017Willoughby Court impresses for Grade Two honours at Warwick
Magic show delights Richard Phillips at Warwick
BHA chief Nick Rust hails news of Levy reform
Kelso call Sunday morning check
Pobbles Bay looking to take next step up the ladder at Warwick
Wetherby gets the go-ahead
Government announces Levy reform boost for racing
Nicky Henderson reveals setback for Supreme Novices' contender Jenkins
Alan King 'very happy' with Uxizandre as racecourse return nears
Divin Bere shines in Nicky Henderson hat-trick at Huntingdon
Peregrine Run all set for Warwick raid with Cheltenham in mind
Crack performer Mome puts Supreme credentials on the line at Punchestown
Valseur Lido set to miss rest of the season after meeting with injury setback
Jaleo team hoping he can shine in Lanzarote heat
Shotgun Paddy aiming to hit Classic target at Warwick