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Injured Tidal Bay out of Grand National

ESPN staff
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Tidal Bay and Ruby Walsh delivered the goods in the Lexus Chase © Getty Images
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Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has been dealt a huge blow with the news Grand National top weight Tidal Bay has been ruled out of the race on account of injury.

Tidal Bay has been transformed since being switched to the Nicholls yard and raised hope of a Cheltenham Festival and Grand National tilt when taking the Lexus Chase at Christmas.

A minor setback ruled him out of the Argento Chase recently and it has now been confirmed that a stress fracture has ruled Tidal Bay out for the season.

"I have got some bad news to report," Nicholls wrote on his Betfair column. "Tidal Bay is out of the Grand National.

"As previously mentioned, he was slightly lame before the Argento and we couldn't get him ready in time for that race, or the Irish Hennessy. He was out cantering as usual on Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday we decided to step up his work. But his work rider came back up and said he didn't feel right.

"We immediately called in Buffy (vet) and, after discussions, we got him down to Newmarket today for an MRI Scan.

"The news through from Buffy is that Tidal Bay has a tiny stress fracture of the lower cannon bone on his right hind leg. This is something that the X-rays we took before his problem in the Argento didn't pick up; only today's MRI did.

"He needs a month's box rest, so that rules out the National."

In Tidal Bay's absence, Albertas Run will be asked to shoulder top weight if trainer Jonjo O'Neill and owner Trevor Hemmings give the veteran the green light to run in the Aintree spectacular.

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