COLIN Tizzard has been dealt a blow after Fox Norton was ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival and the rest of the season owing to a leg injury.

Agonisingly beaten in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last season, he was being aimed at the Ryanair Chase over further this year.

Joe Tizzard, the Dorset trainer’s son and assistant, said in a statement: “Unfortunately, Fox Norton will miss the Cheltenham Festival and the rest of the season due to a slight suspensory injury.”

A close second to Politologue in the Tingle Creek, Fox Norton was upped to three miles for the King George at Christmas when he disappointed, but he was subsequently found to have been suffering with a spinal issue.

Fox Norton had been second favourite, priced at 5-1, for the Ryanair behind last year’s winner Un De Sceaux and Waiting Patiently – the latter’s participation is also in doubt.

Tizzard’s charge, now eight years old, was pulled up behind eventual winner Might Bite in the King George VI Chase in December.

Fox Norton has placed at the previous two Cheltenham festivals, beaten into third by Douvan in the Racing Post Arkle in 2016 and most recently finishing second to Special Tiara in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Fox Norton’s last win came in November when beating Cloudy Dream at Cheltenham.