WYE Valley trainer Venetia Williams’ hopes for L’Homme Presse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup have been dashed after tests discovered he was carrying an injury.

Despite jumping to his left in the prestigious King George VI Chase at Kempton last month, the horse was on course to finish second before unseating jockey Charlie Deutsch at the last.

Vets have now discovered that he was carrying an injury, and connections of the King’s Caple-based trainer and owners have subsequently hailed the horse’s performance as “magnificent” given the circumstances.

But announcing that the 6-1 priced Gold Cup shot would not now be racing at Cheltenham, DFA Racing’s Andy Edwards, who owns the horse in partnership with Pam Edwards and Peter and Pat Pink. told Racing TV: “There are a couple of issues, both temporary. He had a few days off in his paddock and has been trotting up fine.

“He has been walking and trotting under saddle, but we decided to give him a full MOT, because he did jump so far to the left at Kempton.

“He moves soundly and you would not think there was anything untoward, but when we got the results, they were not what we were expecting.

“He needs some time and, talking to the vets, it would not be an ideal preparation to rush him into a Gold Cup. Our horse’s health and happiness comes above everything. He is only eight, he can go to the Gold Cup next year. The most important thing is doing right by our horse.”

L’Homme Presse won the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown and the Brown Advisory at last year’s Cheltenham Festival before winning comfortably in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in December.

At Kempton, the horse had a marked jump to the left but was in contention with Bravemansgame jumping the last when Deutsch was thrown off, with Williams’ other Gold Cup hope Royale Pagaille then finishing second.

Edwards added: “I watched him going to the start and I thought he didn’t quite look right behind – he didn’t go down as smoothly as he normally does.When he jumped the third fence, I said ‘he’s not right’. When he jumped the fourth, I said ‘he’s definitely not right’.

“So it was very hard to watch the race in the stands, as I could feel he was in pain.

“So, for him to do what he did, to be a close second jumping the last, is absolutely phenomenal considering he was carrying an issue that we were unaware of.

“My immediate emotion after the race was one of humility. I was completely humbled by the fact that he had given so much.

“Afterwards, I went into the box with him and stayed with him for some while, and could not help but think how amazing he was and what a magnificent horse he was, to be able to achieve what he did, given the adverse situation. The fact that he was carrying an issue, for him to run as well as he did, makes him an incredible racehorse.”

But he admitted: “Emotions are running high. It is hard for all of us. It is hard for Beth (Baldwin) the groom, Kevin (O’Keeffe), who rides him out every day, Jess (O’Keeffe) the head lass – it is a big blow for all the yard, for us as owners and for Venetia.

“At the same time, by making this decision to give him the time he needs, it will hopefully lead to even greater things in the future.

“He was magnificent in the King George and he will be magnificent again.”

Venetia Williams, who won the Grand National with Mon Mome in 2009, is still seeking a Gold Cup win, with L’Homme Presse perhaps her best chance to date. But she posted news of the horse’s withdrawal last week, saying: “Unfortunately L’Homme Presse won’t be running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year.

“Veterinary investigations this week have indicated that he will need a period of time out of training, so sadly he will miss the Festival this year.

Hopes will now turn to Royale Pagaille, who placed fifth in last year’s Gold Cup.