TIGER Roll is on target to run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan on Sunday week after resuming full work following his setback.
The dual Randox Health Grand National winner – who will bid for a fifth Cheltenham Festival win in March before his quest to join Red Rum in the history books with a third victory at Aintree in April – had surgery to remove a chip in a joint in November.
Trainer Gordon Elliott disclosed: “He did his first bit of work on Saturday after his setback and he worked well. He’ll work again during the week.
“My plan is to run on Sunday week in the Boyne Hurdle – he won’t be as fit as he was last year and will come on a lot for the run, but it will be a lovely stepping stone to the cross-country at Cheltenham.
“He missed a month, so he’s by no means as fit as he was when he won it last year. Hopefully it will put him spot on for Cheltenham.”
It was a mixed weekend for Elliott at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
However he did win the feature race, the Irish Gold Cup, with Delta Work who will now bid to win the English equivalent next month.
“He was very good, Jack (Kennedy) gave him a wonderful ride. He stays well, but probably doesn’t want to be in front too soon,” said Elliott.
“I’d say the Cheltenham Gold Cup trip will be made for him, he stays really well. We probably made a mistake last year not running between Christmas and Cheltenham, as he was a bit fresh. He’s a better horse when he’s running.”
Unfortunately for Kennedy he was unshipped in the following race from Dallas Des Pictons and suffered a broken leg.
Elliott said: “It’s very unfortunate for Jack, he’s a top-class jockey, but he’s got youth on his side and a lot of good horses to come back and ride so he’ll be OK.”
Meanwhile Hughie Morrison has warned leading ante-post contender Not So Sleepy is not guaranteed to run in Saturday’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
He is considering swerving the valuable Grade Three prize in favour of next month’s Unibet Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
After running out an easy winner on his return to hurdles at Ascot in November, Not So Sleepy followed up with an impressive victory back at the track in the Betfair Exchange Trophy before Christmas under Jonathan Burke.
Morrison said: “He has got to school well on Tuesday or we might not run him. Everything needs to be right and if there is any doubt, we will wait for Cheltenham.
“I always hoped he might be like this (over hurdles). We were slightly disappointed when he got beat first time out last year, then he won second time (out) and the third time I was disappointed.
“He has had some good days, but not as many as his ability would warrant. His jumping is improving all the time. He was very quick at his hurdles when he schooled before he ran at Ascot.”