Classy hurdler Countrywide Flame has been found to have a stress fracture which rules him out of the jumps season.
Trainer John Quinn had hoped the 2012 Triumph Hurdle hero would bid to win the defend his crown in the stanjames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle for the second year running.
Intermittent lameness had forced Quinn to give the Cesarewitch at Newmarket, in which the five-year-old was second 12 months ago, a miss.
However, after further investigation the source of the lameness was discovered, meaning Newcastle and other big jumping targets are out for the campaign.
"He's been going intermittently lame, so we had him scanned and it showed a stress fracture on a hind joint," said Quinn, speaking at York.
"He was sound on Friday morning as he's had three quiet days.
"He'll need at least three months off but he's such a good horse that we're going to give him six.
"It's disappointing for everyone concerned, but he's still a young horse. We'll bring him back next Flat season and try to win the Cesarewitch."