THE Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old drifted in the ante-post betting for the two-mile Grade 1 on Wednesday and did not appear among the declarations on Thursday morning.
He still holds entries in Sunday's John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase and the Hilly Way Chase at Cork on the same afternoon.
Mullins has also not declared last season's Tingle Creek hero Un De Sceaux. He, too, is entered in the John Durkan and the Hilly Way.
Just four runners were initially declared for the Sandown feature, but that number was boosted to seven after the race was reopened.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Fox Norton, who was only narrowly beaten by Special Tiara in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last season before striking Grade1 gold at both Aintree and Punchestown, leads the way after making an impressive reappearance in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham in November.
Gary Moore's Ar Mad ran a fine race in last year's Tingle Creek to finish fourth, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing comeback in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
Politologue, the Haldon Gold Cup winner, is one of two runners for Paul Nicholls along with San Benedeto, while Sir Valentino represents Tom George's stable.
Kim Bailey's Charbel and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Ordinary World complete the line-up.