Jarveys Plate is likely to return to Cheltenham on Trials Day after his impressive victory there on New Year’s Day.
The Fergal O’Brien-trained six-year-old relished the step up in trip to two and a half miles to beat Nicky Henderson’s odds-on favourite I Can’t Explain by 13 lengths.
Next on the agenda is the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on January 26.
“It was a surprise to win as easy as we did, because I’d seen the favourite win his point-to-point and at Sandown very easily,” said O’Brien.
“I thought we’d take a chance, because the rest were much of a muchness, and if we finished second I’d have been happy with that. Maybe some didn’t perform to their best, but we’ll take it on the day.
“I think the making of him was running him over two miles at Hereford, because that really sharpened him up. I didn’t want to run him, but Paddy (Brennan) was adamant it would do him good.”
Form lines continue to be franked for Jarveys Plate, most recently when his previous Cheltenham conqueror Elixir De Nutz won Saturday’s Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.
O’Brien added: “The Hereford race worked out, and then we bumped into one (Elixir De Nutz) at Cheltenham – but that was still a good run, and when he stepped up in trip he relished it.
“I think we’ll go to Trials Day – there’s a race over two-four. He’ll have a penalty – but that’s where he’ll go, I think. There’s not much rain about, but I don’t think soft ground would inconvenience him either.
“My daughter rides him at home – he’s a lovely horse to have anything to do with.”
Meanwhile, Tom Lacey may move Kateson up in trip for the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster.
The Herefordshire trainer has earmarked the extended three-mile Grade Two race on January 26 as a possible target for the six-year-old, after his unbeaten run over hurdles came to an end in last month’s Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
Lacey said: “I thought that was a fantastic run from Kateson in the Challow – I was very pleased with him.
“We might look at going for the River Don at Doncaster. That looks like the obvious target, although it would have to be soft ground for him to run.
“He is in great nick and has come out of the race at Newbury really well.”