Leading Irish trainer Mouse Morris has gave a stark warning to ante-post backers of his horse Gentlemansgame for the Cheltenham festival, with the handler suggesting he may not end up going to Prestbury Park in March.
The five year old looks a superb recruit for the yard and owner Robcour having been bought and given to Morris off the back of landing a point to point in Ireland by five lengths.
Morris gave him his first start over hurdles in January and he hosed up in a maiden hurdle by 21 lengths over two miles, but his handler explained after that race he would certainly be stepped up in trip.
He headed into the Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday in the Grade One Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle and finished a staying on second behind superstar Gaillard Du Mesnil, seeing off Stattler and Fakiera in the final stages.
It looked as though a step up to three miles would be the logical next step off the back of the way he raced on Saturday and that would make him a big contender for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
However, the handler looks to be favouring the shorter Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at this stage, if the horse ends up going across the pond at all with Mouse Morris wary if may affect him later in his career.
(Credit ATR) “I was delighted with him, I really was,” said Morris.
“But whether he travels (to Cheltenham), we’ll have to see. I just don’t know yet.
“If he goes he’d probably run over two-five, as the three-mile race has a gruelling reputation. It can leave a mark.“No one seems to know what is happening with the travelling yet, either.
“I certainly won’t be rushing him this season, he’s an out-and-out chaser. We’ll keep all options open, it’s just a bit early to commit to anything yet.
“He’d be more unlikely than likely, I think. I’d be holding my powder, that’s what I’d be advising them to do.”