Tidal out of Hennessy
Tidal Bay (noseband) comes out best in an exciting finish to the Lexus Chase
(Healy Racing Photos)
Graham Wylie's charge has been coaxed back to his best by the Ditcheat team this season, winning the Lexus Chase over the same course and distance at Christmas.
However he was forced to miss the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month following a late setback and hasn't recovered in time to head back to the Foxrock venue.
Writing in his exclusive column at www.betfair.com/paulnicholls the champion trainer said: "I have scratched Tidal Bay from the Irish Hennessy next Saturday, as he won't be ready in time.
"As you know, he missed the Argento as he was slightly lame. He is fine now, but I am not going to rush him. He will go straight to the Festival, and we will make a decision on what race he contests there nearer the time, when we have a better idea on the ground."
It's a big week for the Nicholls camp with several star names heading to Newbury at the weekend for their Betfair-sponsored card.
Silviniaco Conti is on target for the Denman Chase and Pearl Swan, Dark Lover and Caid Du Berlais will be left in the Betfair Hurdle on Monday.
Another rising star will represent the team at the meeting too with Nicholls adding: "I have spoken to John Hales and we plan to run Unioniste in the 3m novice chase on the Betfair Super Saturday card at Newbury on February 9th.
"We won the race with Denman - who is due to parade next Saturday - before his win in the Sun Alliance in 2007 and this will tell us more about what Festival route to go down with Unioniste."
Dushrembrandt is the main early mover in the morning price markets for today's meeting at Punchestown, with the Robert Tyner-trained gelding nearly halved in price for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.