Gilgamboa looked the part in winning his first two starts over fences, including a Grade Two at Limerick on Boxing Day, but was no match for Willie Mullins’ brilliant front-runner in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.
Un De Sceaux is now hot favourite for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival and looks set to stick to novice company, but would give the big boys plenty to think about if lining up in the Champion Chase, according to Bolger.
He said: “Un De Sceaux was far too good for us, he could even go for the Champion Chase, he is a serious horse.
“I’m glad we ran our fellow as we found something out about him and he wasn’t knocked about when he had no chance.”
Gilgamboa is unlikely to renew rivalries with Un De Sceaux at the Festival, with Bolger looking forward to stepping his charge up in distance.
“I’d say he’ll be upped in trip for his next start,” said the trainer.
“He is definitely more effective on softer ground and it was far from that. He didn’t seem to jump as well as he could. The one thing we did take out of it is that he will stay further. In another 150 yards he would have been second.
“The mistake down the far side probably set him back, too – without that mistake I’d say he would have been second anyway. He jinked going towards the fence past the stands but he is still relatively green, that was only his eighth race.”
Nicky Henderson meanwhile can see no reason why Sprinter Sacre should not improve on his comeback effort in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
Once regarded as unbeatable, the nine-year-old was having just his second start since the Punchestown Festival of 2013 when second to Dodging Bullets at the Berkshire track.
He was pulled up with what transpired to be a heart problem at Kempton in December 2013 and it has taken all of Henderson’s skills and patience to get him back on course.
“You saw what he did at Ascot. That was all right. He’s only got to come along from there, then we will be happy,” said Henderson.
“He should do. There is no reason why he shouldn’t go forwards.
“He’s run a very good race. He is in great form. He’s had a week off, not a week off as such, but he didn’t do very much, he’s just been doing good and healthy exercise and we will start back with him now.”
Henderson is aiming to better his already impressive record in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday week.
No trainer has won Europe’s most valuable handicap hurdle as many as the five times which Henderson has tasted success, most recently in 2013 with subsequent Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours.
Sharpical, Geos (twice) and Landing Light are the other names from Seven Barrows on the roll of honour and this year he looks sure to have more than one runner. Sign Of A Victory, tailed off behind Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen at Kempton over Christmas, looks set to take his chance but would not like very soft ground.
Vasco Du Ronceray is another who looks sure to run having been given a break since winning at Haydock, while Dawalan, in the same ownership, is another possible although is pencilled in for Musselburgh on Sunday. Henderson would also consider running Snake Eyes but he has little hope of making the cut at this stage.