Neil King is keen to let Lil Rockerfeller defend his National Spirit Hurdle title ahead of a first shot at the SunBets Stayers’ Hurdle.
Although plans for the five-year-old’s next start remain fluid, the Upper Herdswick trainer has mapped out a plan to tackle the Grade Two event at Fontwell on February 26 before stepping him back up to the top level at the Cheltenham Festival.
After finishing second in a Grade Two at Ascot last month the former Richard Hannon-trained gelding took his form to new heights when returning to the Berkshire track on Saturday, finding only Unowhatimeanharry too strong in the Long Walk Hurdle.
King said: “We were thrilled to bits with the run at Ascot, from what we saw in the fog. He has come out of that great and was bucking and squealing.
“He will go for the World Hurdle and we would like to take in the National Spirit again. He is a horse that takes his racing well and there is a long time between now and the National Spirit.
“He could end up in the Cleeve Hurdle, but he probably won’t go for the Relkeel. To be fair if Unowhatimeanharry runs in the Cleeve I would probably not want to take him on if the ground there was heavy, which it can be at the end of January, as we want him to be fine for March.”