Henry Daly has given Hillcrest the green light to run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.
The giant seven-year-old is unbeaten over hurdles when he has completed and had been towards the head of the betting for the three-mile event even before Minella Crooner’s withdrawal on Wednesday.
Daly had been weighing up his options with Aintree also in the mix but following some extensive schooling this week he is now happy to seek a first Grade One success since Mighty Man’s Long Walk Hurdle in 2006.
“We came to the conclusion that if the horse is well, which I think he is, the plan is to run in the Albert Bartlett,” Daly told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.
“We know we get the trip, we know we don’t mind the track, the ground is fine from anything from good through to heavy so why wouldn’t we have a crack if he’s ok, which he is.
“I rang Yogi Breisner (jumping guru) after Haydock and asked if he’d watched the race, which he had. He said his back end overtakes his front end so if we could help that a bit it wouldn’t hurt.
“We schooled him Tuesday morning having been to Laura Collett’s a couple of times, with Yogi there and Laura riding and we schooled him yesterday and he went nicely.
“I think he will miss one – I can’t get over that – but if we can only miss one and not three that will be a bonus.”