A visit to Ireland could be on the cards for The Nipper after she got her career back on track at Lingfield.
Showing no ill effects of her fall on her hurdles debut at Wetherby on Boxing Day, she made amends in the two-mile mares’ novice hurdle when she proved a length too good for Phoeniciana to complete a double for trainer Warren Greatrex.
Greatrex said: “She has done everything from the front and she can’t keep doing that all the time. She was much better in behind, she jumped well. She was not doing a tap from the back of the second-last and she will be better in an end-to-end gallop. She will get two and a half (miles).”
He added: “I don’t know if she is a Cheltenham horse at the moment because of the ground, more than anything else. If it was really soft, it would be ideal.
“There is a Grade One at Easter (Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final) at Fairyhouse and there are these sort of races for her.
“I’ve ran her back quick as we need to get runs into her. She will need a bit of time before going for something similar and we will go from there.”
The route to tackling bigger and better prizes moved a step closer for stablemate Missed Approach after he kick-started his career over fences with victory in the starspreads.com Novices’ Chase.
Having undergone a wind operation since he turned in a modest effort at Exeter in November, the seven-year-old looked a reformed character when he stayed on well to turn over Label Des Obeaux by six lengths.
Greatrex said: “That’s more like it. I really like this horse and I was really disappointed with him at Exeter. He was lethargic and not himself.
“I am not totally convinced it was all that (wind). I thought he would go down there and take a lot of beating but he never jumped or travelled.
“He was alert this time, and zipped over the fences. From a long way out you could enjoy it.
“For a horse running in only his second start over fences he was assured.
“He is not very quick but he handles these conditions really well. He could turn into a Welsh National horse down the line.”
Trainer Chris Gordon was quick to express his disappointment over plans to close Kempton Park, but he had plenty to smile about after Coolking claimed the starsportsbet.co.uk Handicap Chase.
The 10-year-old, who was refitted with blinkers, made virtually all of the running to claim victory by six lengths.
Gordon said: “They say closing Kempton is good for racing, but it doesn’t feel good for a jumps trainer that trains in Winchester.
“I think it is a very sad day and, however the Jockey Club dress it up, it is not good for racing.”
Of Coolking, Gordon added: “He has been a great old boy for us. I think the blinkers helped him.
“Tom (Cannon) was incredibly good on him because he was a horse that was hanging, and if you put a kid on him he would be a difficult ride.”