Champs to stay in Ireland
Sir Des Champs
(Healy Racing Photos)
The sponsors and Sky Bet are among the firms who now go 2/1 about Nicky Henderson's charge who won the Boxing Day showpiece two seasons ago and finished second to Kauto Star last year.
Sir Des Champs had been well backed in recent days but trainer Willie Mullins told www.racingpost.com: "Having talked things over with the Gigginstown House team we've decided that Sir Des Champs will stay at home rather than go to Kempton and the plan is to run him in the Lexus Chase on December 28."
Eddie O'Leary, racing manager to owners Gigginstown House Stud, added: "Because of the weather we are leaning towards Leopardstown.
"I think there is as much rain at Kempton as there is over here, so there is going to be no better ground over there."
Sir Des Champs faces a rematch with Flemenstar there who beat his rival in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase earlier this month.
Irish raider Cause Of Causes ultimately ran out a ready winner of an ultra-competitive renewal of The Ladbroke at Ascot.