Course specialist Self Defense is reported to be in good form ahead of his bid for back-to-back victories in the Agfa UK Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
As well as winning the Listed contest 12 months ago by three lengths from Rooster Booster, he had gone down by half a length to the ill-fated grey in the 2003 renewal before finishing fourth behind him in the Champion Hurdle.
“He seems in good order and the plan is to go there,” said the Andover trainer. “To be honest I don’t think I’ll have any worries about the ground. He prefers it on the good side.
“Mick Fitzgerald is set to ride him all being well and the horse is in good form.”
Lavelle revealed Cloudy Grey was unlikely to join his stable companion in the Agfa Hurdle and would probably wait for the totesport Trophy at Newbury on Saturday week.
“He’s almost certain to go to Newbury. If there were very few declared for Saturday then we might think of a change of plan, but at this stage we are definitely heading towards Newbury,” she continued.
“He seems in good order and touch wood, things are going the right way for him.
“He’s been a little bit in and out so far but he’s better suited by a left-handed track and I think he’s better suited by not such bad ground and hopefully he’ll improve.”
Cloudy Grey, a 33-1 chance with the sponsors, is currently on 9st 11lb in the valuable handicap hurdle.