Sandown's loss could be Ascot's gain after Nicky Henderson was forced to rule Sprinter Sacre out of the BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
The star of the National Hunt scene returned a dirty tracheal wash earlier in the week and his results are still not 100 per cent, leaving the champion trainer to take the agonising decision not to declare his stable star for his intended seasonal reappearance.
Instead, while Henderson mentioned the possibility of the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas, the Clarence House Chase, formerly known as the Victor Chandler, at Ascot on January 18 is now his most likely port of call. "We've taken the decision not to run. We've re-tested him and just got the results back," the Berkshire-based trainer said.
"Having spoken to all the vets possible and his owner Caroline Mould, we've decided not to go. His figures have improved quite dramatically since Monday but there was just one figure that was causing us concern.
"I had a figure in my mind that I wanted to see today and it just wasn't quite there.
"We can't take any chances with him and having told everyone earlier in the week that he had a problem and if we ran him and god forbid something happened, then everyone would ask what we are doing running him.
"I suppose there's the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton but we'll probably wait for the Victor Chandler Chase now.
"Now we can get him on some medication and it is the sort of thing that will clear up in no time.
"Nico De Boinville rides him everyday and having ridden him this morning he said he still looks and feels fantastic and that he was in tip-top form and that you could never tell externally that there was a little something a miss."
Nine horses were declared, including Captain Conan, who took the Henry VIII Novices' Chase on this card 12 months ago for his third Grade One course success.
Apart from Sprinter Sacre, the only other withdrawal was Hinterland, leaving his trainer Paul Nicholls to be represented by Kauto Stone, who was runner-up to Sizing Europe in this race in 2011.
The Mick Channon-trained Somersby will attempt to supplement his victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Completing the line-up are His Excellency, Mad Moose, Oiseau de Nuit, Tataniano and Viva Colonia.
Sprinter Sacre would have been a long odds-on chance for the Grade One showpiece and in his absence Sire de Grugy is installed as the 7-4 favourite.