Arcalis looks set to step up in class for the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Kempton at Boxing Day rather than run in the novice event on the same card.
Howard Johnson is relieved that his charge does not require a great deal of work, particularly so in the light of the freezing temperatures which scuppered an important morning on the gallops today.
Arcalis, unbeaten in both his starts over jumps, is likely to take on the 2003 Champion Hurdle winner Rooster Booster in the Grade One contest.
There are now 10 entries for the £100,000 (€144,372) event, after Yeoman Lad was added to the original field when the race was reopened.
Johnson said: “It’s fortunate that he doesn’t need much work and if we do miss some he should be OK. He’s in great form and it would tell us just how good he is.”
Philip Hobbs is happy with Rooster Booster despite the 10-year-old not being suited by having to set the pace when fourth in the Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham on his latest outing.
Hobbs observed: “He’s basically going down the same route as last year and is fine. I’m very pleased with him and definitely intend running him at Kempton.”
There are two Irish-trained entries – Noel Meade’s Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner Harchibald and Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle scorer Brave Inca from Colm Murphy’s stable – while Francois Doumen’s Blue Canyon is the sole French possible.
Stan James Christmas Hurdle: Arcalis, Blue Canyon, Brave Inca, Castleshane, Harchibald, Impek, Nawamees, Perouse, Rooster Booster, Yeoman Lad (10).