Hughes undecided on Hardy Eustace bid for Cheltenham

Dessie Hughes is undecided whether to let dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace head back to Cheltenham next month in search of more glory.

Dessie Hughes is undecided whether to let dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace head back to Cheltenham next month in search of more glory.

The 12-year-old appeared as good as ever when winning the Maplewood Developments Hurdle at Punchestown in November, after which he finished a creditable third in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

However, the veteran has been well beaten on his last couple of outings.

While there were excuses, Hughes wants to see his charge return to his best before considering the Festival, where he holds entries in the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle.

"He did it well when he first came out at Punchestown so hopefully there is something still left there," said the Kildare handler.

"He hasn't been right for the last two runs as he has suffered a lung infection.

"We thought we had it cleared up for the last day, but obviously the way he ran it wasn't.

"We'll see if he is right over the next 10 days or a fortnight and, if he is, we will kick on with him and have another go in Cheltenham.

"He'd have to be 100% to go there as I would hate to bring him over and see him run bad," Hughes told At The Races.

"If we missed Cheltenham that would give us a bit more time and as he started the season well, there is no reason why he shouldn't come back to that."

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