West Wizard is far from certain to line up at the Cheltenham Festival in March, according to his owner Dai Walters.
Nicky Henderson's five-year-old made a huge impression when winning a Kempton bumper in March of last year and began the season as ante-post favourite for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
However, he suffered a long odds-on reverse on his jumping debut back at Kempton in November, albeit at the hands of Mick Channon's talented gelding Sgt Reckless, and has not been seen in competitive action since.
West Wizard remains a best priced 16/1 for the Supreme, but with the wet weather delaying his return, Walters has warned his charge will not line up if he is unable to run again between now and the Festival curtain-raiser on March 11.
"The horse that beat him at Kempton came out and won again the other day, so he is obviously a decent horse," said Walters.
"I think West Wizard will have to have a run if he is going to go to Cheltenham. I don't think it would be fair to take him otherwise.
"He's a class horse, we think he's going to be a top horse, but he has only just turned five and he's only a baby.
"We need the weather to improve if we're going to run him and if we're going to run, we want it to be in a decent race.
"There is no point going and winning a £2,000 maiden hurdle at this stage of the year.
"If he's not going to win a decent race, we might as well keep his novice status for next season."