Leading jumps trainer Willie Mullins has admitted he has not made his mind up on where to send Grade One winning hurdler Sir Gerhard this season with the seven year old having the option to go over fences or stay over timber.
Sir Gerhard has been a superstar over the last two years, although throwing out an odd bad performance, for the majority of his career he has been very taking.
The seven year old son of Jeremy was a smart bumper horse last term, landing his first three events in taking style including winning the Champion Bumper, he rounded off last season with a tame third at this festival.
Sent hurdling this term the £400,000 purchase won a 18 runner maiden at Leopardstown on Boxing Day and then next time out over the same course and distance landed the Grade One Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He was last seen stepping up to 2m5f for the first time in his career but having won over three miles comfortably in his point to point he showed he got the trip and went on to land the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
Dropping back to two miles for his last run of the season in the Group One Champion Novice Hurdle he blew out finishing a well beat third behind Mighty Potter.
Now given the option of going novice chasing or being kept over hurdles and aimed at the Champion Hurdle, Mullins does not have long to make his decision.
(Credit ATR) He said: “I’ve got to have a good chat with the owners – when he won his maiden hurdle, he shaped like a Champion Hurdle horse, and he’s won a point-to-point, so he can go novice chasing.
“I was a little disappointed with a couple of his runs over hurdles, where he missed out hurdles and, at the start of the season I thought I would go novice chasing with him, but the more I look at the hurdles picture, I’m tempted to stay over hurdles with him.
“I have got to chat with Mrs Thompson and Chris Richardson, the whole Cheveley Park team, and see what their views are.
“There are pros and cons and my team at home are split on it as well. Obviously, he could go novice chasing then come back over hurdles, but I definitely haven’t ruled him out of a Champion Hurdle bid – we will see.”