Ireland’s favourite horse, Limestone Lad is coughing and will miss his prep race for the Cheltenham Festival at Navan on Sunday.

Limestone Lad, the hugely popular winner of 35 races, is among the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle and had been scheduled to make his last appearance before Cheltenham in the McCabe Builders Boyne Hurdle.

Trainer James Bowe’s son and assistant Michael said on Tuesday: “Limestone Lad is on treatment and won’t be going to Navan on Sunday.

“The vet says I should have him back in two weeks and I’m just hoping Navan is not the only thing I have to sacrifice.”

He added: “It could have been better timing, but there is a bug going around. If the treatment takes only two weeks then we should be back on track again soon.”