Jockey Ruby Walsh felt Hurricane Fly lacked his renowned finishing kick in his failed defence of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
The 19-times Grade One winner, trained by Willie Mullins, could only finish fourth behind compatriot Jezki, beaten five lengths.
Walsh was surprised by the uncharacteristic manner of his meek reverse as he appeared to labour over the last few flights of hurdles.
He told Racing UK: "For me, he did something he has never done before - he didn't finish.
"He faded going to the last, which is something he's never done before.
"He didn't finish the way he always does, but there's not a bother on him this morning."