Royal and SunAlliance Chase favourite Darkness is set to go straight to Cheltenham without a prep run.
The Charlie Egerton-trained seven-year-old sprang to prominence with a surprise defeat of Iris’s Gift at Newbury in November and has since franked that form with wins at Cheltenham and Sandown.
It was his Feltham Novices’ Chase victory at Sandown which propelled him to the head of the betting for the championship novice chase event – he is currently a general 5-1 chance – and Egerton confirmed preparations are going smoothly for Cheltenham.
“We have been able to give him a break, freshen him up and prepare him for Cheltenham,” he said.
“We’ve got to get him there first but hopefully he’ll go to Cheltenham a fresh horse. He’s a benchmark and a horse who has got the form and is improving.”
Although Darkness also holds an entry in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Berkshire-based trainer admits the plan now is to run him in the SunAlliance Chase on March 15.
“At the moment we are going to stick to the original plan and run him in the SunAlliance,” Egerton told At The Races.