David Pipe hopes to get Adagio fit and firing in time for the Champion Hurdle after revealing the just-turned five-year-old has resumed training following a setback.
Winner of the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow last season, Pipe’s charge went on to fill the runner-up position in the Triumph Hurdle and the 4-Y-O Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree in the spring.
Having made a promising seasonal return when beaten three-quarters of a length by West Cork in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham in November, he missed an engagement in the International Hurdle after suffering a minor setback.
Adagio, as short as 16-1 with Bet365 and as big as 33-1 with BetVictor and Paddy Power for the Champion Hurdle, is on the way back, however.
Pipe said: “He has only just started cantering so plans are on hold at the present moment. He just pulled a muscle.
“We are still aiming for the Champion Hurdle, but we would like to get a run in beforehand.
“It isn’t easy trying to find a race for him, as he is only eligible for the Kingwell Hurdle (at Wincanton on February 19) or the Betfair Hurdle (at Newbury on February 7) or races like that, so he has not got too many options.”
Pipe is also mulling over where to go with Sidi Ismael, who extended his unbeaten run over fences in the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen over the Christmas period.
The eight-year-old won on his stable debut over hurdles in November for owners, The Show Is Over Syndicate.
Sidi Ismael followed up at Wetherby before outstaying nine rivals over an extended three miles and three furlongs at Market Rasen in stamina-sapping ground.
Pipe said: “We will possibly look at the Midlands National, or go to Catterick for a three-mile-six-furlong handicap chase. He is still a novice as well.
“He is certainly going the right way and is owned by an enthusiastic bunch of guys who are based in Ireland, Liverpool and all over the place. He is progressing and seems to stay very well.”