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Top Notch Tonto has been declared a non-runner for Saturday afternoon’s Cambridgeshire at Newmarket because of the quickening ground conditions.
The three-year-old gelding was well fancied for the competitve handicap race having picked up only a four-pound penalty thanks to his Group Three victory at Haydock earlier this month.
However, despite Top Notch Tonto being a stone well-in at the weights, trainer Brian Ellison made the difficult decision to withdraw him on Saturday morning having walked the course to reinforce his initial doubts about the suitability of the ground.
Ellison said: “I’ve walked the track this morning and it’s going to be very quick.
“The owner wants to look after him, quite rightly, and we don’t want to take any chances on quick ground, especially on a track like this when the ground runs away from you.
“He’ll be put away now and we’ll look forward to next season with him.
“He’s rated 112, so we’ll be looking at Group races.”
The absence of Top Notch Tonto paves the way clear for the likes of Queensberry Rules, Ascription, Educate and Code Of Honor to battle it out for the win.
King’s Warrior and Chapter Seven have also dropped out but leading contender Ascription is also seemingly set to withdraw, according to trainer Hugo Palmer – also due to quicker than desired ground.