Duke Of Navan aims for back-to-back wins in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Thursday.
Nicky Richards’ highly-rated six-year-old landed the �20,000 event 12 months ago and faces a more realistic challenge than he has done in his two appearances since, when he was out of his depth in the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle.
“He had a little break after Kempton and we are just bringing him back,” said Richards.
“Hopefully there’ll be a nice race in the spring, but we’ll get the Morebattle out of the way first.”
Keith Reveley’s Special Catch has looked progressive this term and may give him most to do.
There may also be Cheltenham clues in the David Merry Farrier Novices’ Hurdle where John Ferguson’s Rainbow Peak, top-class on the Flat, aims to follow up his win at Doncaster while in the CGA Foxhunter Trial, Alan HIll’s Harbour Court puts his credentials on the line.
Thwarted by the weather in point-to-points, Hill sends his stable star on the journey from Oxfordshire with next month firmly on his mind.
“This is his Cheltenham prep. We keep losing point-to-points and I felt this was a good opportunity to get a run into him on some decent ground. I haven’t wanted to run him on heavy ground and risk leaving Cheltenham behind, especially with it being his first run of the season,” said Hill.
“Decent ground is a factor for him, but not a major one. With the weather showing no signs of improving any time soon, I felt I had to get a run into him.
“My wife (trainer Lawney HIll) would certainly love him in her yard and an initial mark of 120 is very kind, but his owner Andrew West is a country man and at the moment is quite happy enjoying point-to-pointing.
“At present we’re not looking beyond March 14.”Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines