The seven-year-old was a likely favourite for the three-mile hurdle event after winning the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and finishing a narrow runner-up to Unowhatimeanharry at Punchestown last month.
Nichols Canyon’s Cheltenham success had put him in line for a possible $500,000 bonus available to any horse who wins the Stayers’ Hurdle and Nashville contest within 12 months.
Nichols Canyon had finished third in the race at Percy Warner Park last year and trainer Willie Mullins felt his charge had a fine chance of landing the Grade One prize.
“We are really, really disappointed not to be able to contend the race, particularly due to the international aspect and the very generous bonus offered,” he told www.nationalsteeplechase.com
“After two seasons of planning and coming up with the right horse, Nichols Canyon’s win at Cheltenham and previous experience of this race last year provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are devastated that he will miss out on being in contention for that level of prize money.
“The most important thing at the moment is to get Nichols Canyon home and plan for next season.”