Fingal Bay to miss Cheltenham

Fingal Bay to miss Cheltenham as Hobbs confirms muscle injury scuppers Neptune hopes

Ante-post punters have been dealt a blow with the confirmation that unbeaten novice hurdler Fingal Bay will miss the Cheltenham Festival.

Doubts surrounding the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding surfaced last week when it was revealed that he had suffered a muscle injury.

However, Hobbs has now officially confirmed that Fingal Bay will miss the most prestigious meeting of the jumps season which starts on March 13.

Ruled out: Cheltenham comes just too soon for Fingal Bay (left)

Ruled out: Cheltenham comes just too soon for Fingal Bay (left)

He was expected to run in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Hobbs said: 'Unfortunately time has beaten us and Fingal Bay won't make Cheltenham. Thankfully, it is not a serious problem which is the silver lining as we'll have him for Aintree and Punchestown. He just needs another week which we haven't got.'

Punters have already suffered with Nicky Henderson's Grandouet out of the Champion Hurdle and Dessie Hughes-trained Minsk missing the Triumph Hurdle.