Grade Three-winning hurdler Hunters Call will head straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old provided trainer Olly Murphy with immediate dividends at Ascot over Christmas when he won the valuable Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle on his first start for new connections.

Murphy has decided not to run him in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 10 and will instead chart a direct route towards Cheltenham in March.

The Warwickshire handler said: “He’s have an entry in the Coral Hurdle, the County Hurdle and the boys’ race (Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle), but it would be looking more likely that he’ll go for the County.

“He’s in good form. He was in the Betfair, but I took him out because there’s only one Cheltenham.”