Secret Reprieve’s trainer Evan Williams was not too disappointed as his fears of missing the 2021 Randox Grand National were all but confirmed.
The seven-year-old was named as second reserve for Saturday’s big race when the runners were announced on Thursday morning.
Well-supported in the ante-post market, punters will have to see if there are two non-runners before 1pm on Friday, which would let him take his chance.
Williams, who saddled the improving chaser to win the Coral Welsh National in January, has suggested that is very unlikely and he is looking ahead to next season.
“We’ve had a lot worse news regarding horses, we knew there was a chance that would happen so there’s no point worrying about things we can’t control,” the Llancarfan trainer told Sky Sports Racing.
“He’s safe and sound and that’s always the main thing. He’ll go home with Mr and Mrs Rucker (owners) now and we’ll think about next year.
“We took a punt about getting in the National and it’s not going to work out. That’s the way it is. The great thing about missing out on getting into the National is they dropped him 2lb for anywhere we want to go now next year. Every cloud has a silver lining.
“I’m certainly not worried. He’s a young horse, fingers crossed he’ll have his day again in the sun somewhere down the line.
“He’s gone and won a Welsh National. It was only his sixth start over fences.
“He’s had a mighty season. He can have a good field of grass now and we can look forward to next year with him.”
Cloth Cap, an impressive winner of his warm-up race at Kelso, heads the National betting at odds of 4-1.
The shortest-priced favourite to win was Poethlyn at 11-4 in 1919.
The National, shown live on ITV in the UK, is at 5.15pm on Saturday, with a global audience of 600million expected to watch it.