Leading British trainer Harry Fry currently has the second favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in Metier and with him set to run in the Betfair Hurdle before his tilt at the Grade One at Prestbury Park, the handler has now decided to send him straight to the meeting in March.
The five year old had been a horse running on the flat before coming over to England and he was given to Harry Fry who sent him straight over hurdles.
It has been one of the best decisions for this horse being unbeaten on all three starts over obstacles, winning a Novices' Hurdle at Newton Abbot on debut and then backing that up at Ascot next time out in an Introductory Handicap.
Fry thought it was time to step him up to Grade One company at Sandown in the Tolworth Hurdle and it saw the gelding thrive in the heavy conditions to kick away after the last and win by 12 lengths.
With him set for his final sping before the festival at Newbury this weekend,the meeting feel foul of the weather and although it is rescheduled for next Sunday, Fry has decided that his gelding will not be taking up his space in the race and will got to Cheltenham fresh.
(Credit ATR) He said: “The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is very much our number one target and while we were happy to have a go at the Betfair en route, next weekend is only just over three weeks before the Festival.
“It’s not like he was going to the Betfair rated 139 – he’s rated 149 and already a Grade One winner.
“We think he’s got a very good chance in the Supreme, so that’s where our focus is.
“Newbury and the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) and everyone involved deserve a lot of credit for rescheduling the whole fixture, but sadly it doesn’t fit in with our plan for Metier – it wasn’t to be.”
Currently the second favourite for the race at a general 7/1, if the ground turns heavy it will play massively to his strengths and his trainer is very bullish about his chances in the Tuesday event at Cheltenham.
Fry added: “Appreciate It probably wasn’t as visually impressive as he was at Christmas, but you still can’t knock him – he’s a dual Grade One winner.
“I don’t think we should dismiss Ballyadam either, who obviously didn’t run as well as he can at Christmas, but certainly ran much better to be second to Appreciate It the other day.
“As always there will be formidable opposition coming from the other side of the Irish Sea, which is another reason why we want to make sure we have our horse fresh and absolutely A1 for the big day.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge.”