Steve Gollings has put a line through Local Hero’s run at Haydock last weekend and he remains in the mix for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
The four-year-old had previously won all three starts over timber, including a Grade Two event at Cheltenham that had been won by Katchit and Walkon in recent seasons.
At Prestbury Park he beat Third Intention, who turned the tables on him on Merseyside, but Gollings believes the desperate ground was to blame.
“I sat down with the owner, Phil Martin, and we agreed before Haydock that he needed more practice and obviously now we wish we hadn’t run him,” said Gollings.
“He won in bad ground at Catterick, but Catterick bad ground is nowhere near Haydock bad ground.
“He just couldn’t handle it, we knew we were beaten before the first hurdle. So he’s had a race, but not a hard race.
“The owner wants to go to Aintree and not Cheltenham, but he’s won a Grade Two over course and distance at Cheltenham.
“If people are touting Third Intention for the Triumph then we’ve got to have a chance, too. However, the owner is not a fan of Cheltenham so we’ll see.”