Plans are on hold for Huntsman Son

Edgcote trainer Alex Hales will be waiting on Huntsman Son ahead of the Cheltenham Festival
Edgcote trainer Alex Hales will be waiting on Huntsman Son ahead of the Cheltenham Festival

Edgcote trainer Alex Hales will be waiting to see how Huntsman Son comes out of last weekend’s race at Newbury before deciding if he will line up at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

The Trafford Bridge handler sent out Huntsman Son to win the BetVictor Novices’ Chase at Newbury on Saturday. The nine-year-old was ridden by Kielan Woods and has an entry in the listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase on the first day of next week’s meeting.

I’m tempted to go there but we’ll have to wait an see how he comes of Saturday’s race, although he didn’t have a very hard one

Edgcote trainer Alex Hales

Hales said: “He’s always been a nice horse and we were glad to see him prove how good he is at Newbury.

“He will be left in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase and we’ll make a decision later in the week because there isn’t much space between the two races, only ten days.

“If he doesn’t go to Cheltenham he’ll probably go back to Newbury later this month or up to Ayr in April.

“I’m tempted to go to Cheltenham but we’ll have to wait and see how he comes out of Saturday’s race, although he didn’t have a very hard one.

“He’s won back-to-back races before but obviously Cheltenham is a different grade of race altogether and if he’s not back to where he was there will be no point going there.”

Stablemate Smooth Stepper has an entry in Thursday’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.

Hales added: “Smooth Stepper wants soft ground but I’m not sure we’ll get that.

“I would like to run him in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter, that’s been his aim. But I know the owners would like to run him in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.”