Kilcrea Castle on easy list after disappointment

Kilcrea Castle is to miss both Cheltenham and Aintree following a disappointing run in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton.

Trainer Emma Lavelle felt the ex-Irish eight-year-old could not act in the testing conditions as he trailed in eighth of the nine finishers behind Razor Royale.

As a result, Lavelle has scratched Kilcrea Castle from the William Trophy at Cheltenham and the John Smith’s Grand National.

He could though return for a late spring campaign with the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown a possible objective.

“He’s absolutely fine after yesterday but he struggles going that pace the whole way on very soft ground,” said the Andover handler.

“Jack Doyle said he thought he could hear his wind affecting him as well so he could never get into a rhythm accordingly.

“On the back of that, having talked to the owners we are not going to the National this year and will hopefully go there next year. We will have a look at some of the other big prizes around before the end of the season.

“We’ve also taken him out of the William Hill at Cheltenham as it will come up a bit quick for him.

“I know he’s got form on soft ground in Ireland but their style of racing over there is different to ours. They don’t start racing until very later on in the race.

“It wasn’t a nice experience for him so we’ll try to find a nice race for him before the end of the season and look to the National next year as a main target.

“There’s nothing set in stone yet but I’ll sit down and discuss it with the owners. One thing that might get thrown into the ring could be the old Whitbread at Sandown.”

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