My Tent Or Yours is likely to go down the racecourse gallop route in his preparation for the Stan James Champion Hurdle after trainer Nicky Henderson ruled out a trip to Wincanton.
A leading contender for the two-mile championship in March, the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old missed a possible engagement at Sandown because of very testing ground and the Kingwell Hurdle on Saturday week has already been ruled out for the same reason.
Henderson did, however, raise the possibility of a trip to Kelso next week for the Christmas Hurdle winner if the ground is suitable.
Speaking at Doncaster, Henderson said: “My Tent definitely won’t go to Wincanton.
“I know what the ground is like now at Wincanton and it’s not going to get much better in a week. I’m not desperate to run him and we will do it our way. He’ll work at the weekend and then we’ll start thinking of away days, probably at Kempton.
“He may get an entry at Kelso for the Morebattle, I’ll give them a ring and see what it’s likely to be like.”
Henderson also had news of Gold Cup king Bobs Worth, who left a below-par return in the Betfair Chase behind when striking in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
He said: “I’m pleased with Bob.
“Thank goodness we got the race into him in Ireland because I would have hated to have to run him at Cheltenham the other week in that ground. Since the Lexus he has been gradually building back up and now we’ll start to get some serious work into him.
“I was relieved as much as pleased with his run in Ireland, after the Betfair I was really worried but he showed everything we know he is in the Lexus.
“In the Gold Cup he’ll also have the advantage of the hill which we know he adores.”
Meanwhile Denis Hogan is pleased Inis Meain’s work on the schooling ground appears to be paying off following his third place at Punchestown last Sunday.
The County Tipperary trainer had devoted plenty of time to schooling Inis Meain after he made a number of errors when fourth to Dysios at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Inis Meain rewarded those efforts with a much-improved round of jumping as he claimed minor honours behind Jetson in a Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier.
“He came out of it well and we were delighted with him. The whole thing was for him to put in a clear round. That was the key thing,” said Hogan.
“We’ll see, but he might go to Navan over two-miles-seven in two weeks’ time. He’ll have an entry and we’ll see how he is and take it from there. If he puts in another nice round of jumping next time, we’d be hopeful of a big run. We won’t get ahead of ourselves. Navan will tell us more, so we’ll just get that out of the way and see if he can improve again.”
A trip to the Cheltenham Festival could still be on the agenda for Space Ship following another creditable run in defeat at Musselburgh last weekend.
Having achieved a rating in the 90s on the Flat for John Gosden, trainer Robbie Hennessy went to 130,000 guineas to secure his services at Tattersalls last October.
He made a highly encouraging jumping debut when not beaten far by a couple of leading Triumph Hurdle contenders in Plinth and Ivan Grozny at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival and made his second hurdling start in Scotland on Sunday.
Having travelled well in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies, the four-year-old was eventually beaten into fourth by the talented Broughton, but Hennessy believes his charge is better than he showed that day.
“With the way the weather was, it took us 14 hours to get to Musselburgh because of ferry problems. It was a long old journey and under the circumstances I thought it was a good run,” said the trainer.
“They stood still for 15 seconds when the tapes went up and a faster gallop would definitely have suited our horse, so all in all we were happy. The plan is to run him in a four-year-old maiden hurdle at Gowran Park on Saturday week and we’ll make a plan from there.
“He’s in the Triumph, but the Fred Winter could be more likely if he goes to Cheltenham. We’ll see how we go.
Colin McBratney is looking to target Sole Witness at the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday should conditions be suitable.
The County Down handler will consider the Fairyhouse showpiece for his 10-year-old if the ground is heavy and in the meantime intends to take him to Navan where he gained his last success in December 2012.
McBratney feels Sole Witness has a big race in him after he followed up his sixth in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran last month with a good second to Folsom Blue at Punchestown last Sunday when he attempted to make all the running.
“He ran well but he always seems to bump into one. Hopefully he’ll win a big handicap somewhere for me. He’s come out of the race in very good shape, no problem at all. We hope to run him again probably in a veterans handicap chase in Navan on March 1.
“He’ll have an entry in the Irish National if the ground was going to come up heavy.”
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