The Emmet Mullins-trained Noble Yeats provided amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen with a fairytale success in last year’s renewal of the Aintree spectacular, on what proved to be his final ride.
Noble Yeats was pulled up on his reappearance at Auteuil, but has since impressed in winning a Listed prize at Wexford and Aintree’s Many Clouds Chase, with the latter success in particular thrusting him into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture.
Connections identified the £165,000 Fleur De Lys Chase as a suitable next port of call – but it was confirmed on Tuesday that he will not be able to line up as the horse’s vaccination record is not compliant with the Rules of Racing.
The British Horseracing Authority said in a statement that a change to the rules came into effect this month, following a 12-month transition period to allow trainers to adjust to the changes to the vaccine booster intervals.
Owner Robert Waley-Cohen, however, feels improvements to the entry system could still be made.
He said: “It’s disappointing, but the ground at Lingfield could be awful. They’ve covered what was waterlogged ground because of the frost, which is not a good combination, and they’ve already abandoned racing on Friday, so maybe we’ve dodged a bullet.
“On the other hand, I don’t really understand why the programme is set up in such a way that they don’t advise you that more information is required until the deadline has passed.
“Whenever you’re making entries, surely it should trigger something to say you need to upload some more information.
“I’ve just got on a flight and when you’re checking in they say you need to input your Covid information and your visa information, then you can select a seat and check-in. They don’t say when you turn up at the door ‘sorry you can’t fly today because you haven’t uploaded your information’.
“I think it’s disappointing that they don’t have a trigger saying ‘thank you for you entry, you need to to give us more information before this entry becomes valid’.
“A great many people are getting caught out with it because obviously vaccination is an ongoing thing and you have to keep on uploading on a regular basis for different horses – and people make administrative errors, that’s why they’re trainers and not businessmen.”
When asked whether he had discussed an alternative plan with Mullins, Waley-Cohen added: “We’ve had lots of chat and I think it’s almost certain that he’ll go to the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham six days later.”