Leading Arkle Trophy contender Fago saw his Cheltenham Festival aspirations dealt a huge blow as he suffered a comprehensive defeat in the Kilbrittain Castle Novices' Chase at Sandown.
An impressive winner on his British debut and first start for Paul Nicholls at Newbury in mid-January, the five-year-old then fell at the second-last when looking the likely winner of the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Warwick.
Sent off the 2-5 favourite, he was settled last of three by Ruby Walsh and appeared to be moving into contention nicely jumping the Railway fences, but could not bridge the gap when Tony McCoy kicked for home on 7-2 shot Kapga De Cerisy, who scored by 15 lengths despite making a mess of the final fence.
Winning trainer Venetia Williams said: "I put him in everything at Cheltenham and he'll go for one of the handicaps. Hopefully the proximity of the third horse means the handicapper won't overreact. I was worried the ground was different to how it has been for much of the season, but it didn't seem to matter."
Walsh said of Fago: "He rode like a horse who was coming off the end of a long season. He had a long year in France", while Nicholls later confirmed via twitter: "Fago will miss Cheltenham and we will try and get back to best for Aintree."
McCoy had earlier helped David Pipe's Shotavodka (4-7 favourite) to a facile success in the Chris Bakers' 40th Birthday 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle.
Olympian Boy (7-1) was given a ride as icy-cool as the Surrey weather by Paul Moloney in the John Ratcliffe Retirement Handicap Chase.
Christian Leech, part-owner and assistant trainer to his wife Sophie, said: "He has won four times for us now and ran very well here last time behind Shangani, who has franked the form since. He is nine, but could be able to cope with a slight step up in grade and he might come back here on March 9."
Thundering Home (7-1) did exactly that when coming from a mile off the pace in the February Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, with Goring One (16-1) also finishing strongly under a power-packed Andrew Thornton to take the Eric's Charm Handicap Chase for trainer Anna Newton-Smith.
Jamie Moore and Be All Man (7-2) pipped McCoy and 3-1 favourite Leader Of The Gang in the David Lindon & Co Handicap Hurdle. The jockey's father, trainer Gary Moore, said with a smile: "He says he would have won on either horse!"
28 November 2015Plans fluid for Victoria Pendleton point-to-point debut
Thistlecrack too sharp for Long Distance big guns at Newbury
Alan King bowled over by Hennessy hero Smad Place
Wakanda note perfect in Newcastle Rehearsal
Thistlecrack goes the Distance at Newbury
Identity Thief delivers KO blow in Fighting Fifth at Newcastle
Willie Mullins hands Gitane Du Berlais Carlisle assignment
Tea times it right at Newbury for Evan Williams
Micky Hammond on the mark with Caraline at Newcastle
Arctic Fire searching for big-race success in Hatton's Grace Hurdle
Long Dog and Bachasson primed for Royal Bond showdown at Fairyhouse
Former jockey Darren Egan denies stopping horses in BHA corruption case
Simply Wings out to soar at Newbury in Sir Peter O'Sullevan memorial
Bobs Worth back at Newbury in attempt to regain Hennessy crown
Lamar hangs on for fast-track qualifier win at Wolverhampton
Three Musketeers adds name to illustrious Newbury honour roll
Bryan Cooper has a go with Heroes at Fairyhouse
Identity Thief faces acid test in Fighting Fifth
Kasakh Noir puts down early Cheltenham marker with Newbury success
Warren Greatrex backs Cole Harden to go the Distance at Newbury
Harry Fry calls time on Rock On Ruby career due to injury
Willie Mullins says Wicklow Brave is fighting fit for Newcastle date
27 November 2015Doncaster stewards hand out fourteen-day ban for rider John Kington
Funeral details announced for Pat Eddery
Niall McCullagh issues upbeat injury prognosis
Sean Bowen cleared for Newbury return
Ed Dunlop seeking Japan Cup solace with Trip To Paris
Paul Nicholls has Saphir Du Rheu sparkling for Newbury Hennessy bid
Native River leaves owner 'speechless' with Newbury triumph
Sternrubin leads Newbury rivals a merry dance
Ubak out to defy long absence in Newbury highlight
Winning start over fences for Shaneshill at Thurles
Modus 'getting there' in maintaining unbeaten record over hurdles at Newbury
Stuart Edmunds issues Chepstow warning for Wolf Of Windlesham
Charlie Longsdon's Pendra could enter Grand National equation
26 November 2015David Bridgwater raring to go in Hennessy with The Giant Bolster
Sean Bowen stood down after Taunton fall
Marco Botti duo seeking Wolverhampton riches
Native River makes a big splash in Newbury Grade Two
Tom Marquand nominated for BBC award
Winning start over fences for Shaneshill at Thurles
Gunnery Sergeant sights set on Royal Bond outing
Just Cameron pleases Micky Hammond in Wetherby spin
Irving and Top Notch set for Newcastle rematch
Saphir Du Rheu tops 17 runners in Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury
Fire Fighting too good in Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton
Brave Hero makes an impression on Lingfield debut
Charlie Longsdon takes aim at Long Walk Hurdle with Kilcooley
John Constable in the frame for Gerry Feilden honours
Un Temps Pour Tout out to star in hot novice chase at Newbury
O'Faolains Boy will bid to go the Distance at Newbury
Annacotty leads entries for Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Colin Bowe 'tempted' by Drinmore run for Shantou Flyer
David Dennis plotting Doctor Phoenix campaign following Haydock verdict
25 November 2015Run Ructions Run makes winning chase debut for Tim Easterby at Wetherby
Goonyella set to bid for Becher compensation at Aintree
Alan King planning hurdles switch with The Unit
Down Royal return possible for Foxhunter hero On The Fringe
Mondialiste aimed at Hong Kong Mile by David O'Meara
Gilgamboa set for John Durkan return at Punchestown
Dan and Harry Skelton hit Lingfield double
Emma Lavelle sets sights on chase campaign for Closing Ceremony
Willie Mullins dominates Royal Bond entries at Fairyhouse
Neil Mulholland thrilled with Fox Norton Cheltenham effort
Emma Lavelle outlines Ascot aim for Junction Fourteen
Arctic Fire in perfect Hatton's Grace 10
Jonjo O'Neill eyeing low-key target for Minella Rocco
Hennessy robbed of star turn as Coneygree misses race
Jonjo O'Neill set to ease Holywell in grade