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CHELTENHAM Big blow for Willie Mullins as lameness rules Energumene out of Cheltenham Arkle duel with Shishkin

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Energumene, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning th Irish Arkle Novice Steeplechase  at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Energumene, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning th Irish Arkle Novice Steeplechase at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Energumene, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning th Irish Arkle Novice Steeplechase at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

The clash of the Cheltenham Festival is no more after Energumene was ruled out of his mouth-watering meeting with Shishkin having suffered a setback.

The Arkle duel between the exciting novice chasers had been billed as one of the highlights of the Festival, but Willie Mullins has revealed that a late injury will rule Energumene out of his trip to the Cotswolds.

The seven-year has oozed class over fences this season with a faultless Grade One success at the Dublin Racing Festival throwing down the gauntlet to Nicky Henderson's Shishkin, but that battle will have to wait for another day.

"Unfortunately, Energumene has met with a setback and won’t be running at the Cheltenham Festival next week. It is very disappointing for all connections," Mullins said this morning of Tony Bloom's charge.

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