Karl Burke is considering pitching Intense Tango into the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle following her fine effort at Wetherby last Saturday.
The Middleham trainer felt the soft ground proved too much to handle for the four-year-old filly, winner of a Grade Two at Doncaster last winter, as she failed by five lengths to give Blue Buttons 8lb in the Listed OLBG.com Mares’ Hurdle.
He is now thinking he would like her to have a try at Grade One company in the Newcastle showpiece on November 28 but, if conditions are unsuitable, he could switch her to Newbury for the Gerry Feilden Hurdle two days earlier.
“She ran a great race on Saturday and the ground was against her. Brian (Hughes) basically looked after her. She never even got a slap behind the saddle,” said Burke.
“She just couldn’t quicken in that ground and the winner loves that ground. We were giving the winner 8lb.
“We were very happy with her. The idea at the moment is to train her for the Fighting Fifth and if the ground comes up good, or on the easy side of good or faster, she’d go.
“Two days before, if we’re not happy, there’s a Listed handicap at Newbury, so that would be the option.
“We’re keen to give her a crack at a good race if everything’s in her favour.
“She’s a very good mare and Brian thinks she’s improved on last year and she would improve a little bit fitness-wise for Wetherby as well.”
One who will not be going to Newcastle is Glingerburn, but Nicky Richards hopes to have him ready in time for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.
A smart novice last season when he won a Grade Two event at Kelso, Glingerburn made his return to action at Ayr on Saturday in preparation for a crack at the Fighting Fifth. However, he fell at the third-last, bringing down another rival and picking up a nasty cut in the process.
“He’s improving slowly,” said Richards. “He won’t be out for the season, it’s a deep, three-inch cut, but as long as it doesn’t get infected he should be fine.
“Horses are amazing, they heal so quickly.
“I hope to start him back riding out next week, but the Fighting Fifth is obviously out.
“Hopefully, he might be back for the Christmas Hurdle, something like that.”
Holywell has the Betfair Chase as his target, despite coming up short in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Jonjo O’Neill believes his Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth needs to raise his game if he is to prove himself a genuine top-level performer.
Although a Grade One winner over fences in the 2014 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree, the eight-year-old has subsequently endured mixed fortunes, winning once in six outings.
He came up short again when finishing fifth on his seasonal return in the Charlie Hall and while he will still be aimed at Haydock later this month, O’Neill has suggested he could consider easing him in class should he fail to be competitive.
He said: “Holywell is in good order following his run at Wetherby on Saturday. The ground went very soft and I was really surprised how soft it got.
“He will run in the Betfair if the ground is right and then we will make our mind up where we go from there.
“He is a grand horse but he is just lacking that little bit that makes him top class. Although he won that Grade One at Aintree, it put him on a bit of a false mark.
“I want to win races with him and he is not going to win those races if he doesn’t shape up better than he did the other day, as it was the third or fourth time he has come up against those type of horses and has been beaten.”
Charlie Hall winner Cue Card is also among 18 entries for the Betfair as he attempts to regain the crown he won in 2013.
Silviniaco Conti prevailed in the years either side of that and is primed for the defence of his Haydock title after a cracking return to action over the smaller obstacles at Kempton earlier in the week.
He beat Menorah 12 months ago, and Philip Hobbs’s charge could try to go one better on Merseyside, despite pulling up in at Wetherby. Hobbs said: “Menorah is fine after his run in the Charlie Hall. The ground was just too soft for him and when he belted the last over on the far side, that was the end of it.”