Ahoy Senor sparkled in a schooling session and connections of the exciting prospect confirmed he is on course for another clash with Bravemansgame in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham next week.
The Lucinda Russell-trained seven-year-old bounced back decisively in the Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby after having his colours lowered by Bravemansgame in the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day.
But the pair are set to lock horns again on Wednesday, March 16, in what could be one of the most enthralling races at the Festival.
A Grade One-winning hurdler last season – beating Bravemansgame at Aintree – the strapping Ahoy Senor showed more maturity with a fine jumping display at Wetherby, when scoring by five and a half lengths under Derek Fox.
And eight-times champion jockey Peter Scudamore, assistant trainer and partner to Russell, has given the green light to go to the Festival after his latest piece of work.
Scudamore said: “He schooled the downhill fences at Kelso on Saturday and hopefully, all being well, he will go to the Brown Advisory. He looked sharp and did everything we asked well.
“I know we thought about not taking him here, but he’ll go to the Brown Advisory.
“We obviously know it is a very hot race and you get a little bit frightened, because I think a lot of him.
“Then you think to yourself, there is only one Cheltenham and that is what we train one for, to get one there.
“I don’t think we lost anything in defeat at Kempton and he ran well at Wetherby. So we will go and see what happens.”
Meanwhile, Cuban Cigar, a recent recruit from the Richard Hannon yard, gained his first success for the Kinross yard when landing a qualifier for the Go North Grey Bomber Series Final at Kelso.
The juvenile, who chased home the well-regarded Silver Streak at Kempton before joining Russell, ran on well to beat Genuflex by a length and a half in the two-mile qualifier.
Scudamore said: “He ran at Haydock in deep ground on his first run for us and he travelled well for a long way, but we wanted to get him qualified for the final at Musselburgh on March 25.
“He did it nicely at Kelso and while he didn’t win by far, that is part of a rare plan achieved.”