Indications from Cheveley Park Stud that Sir Gerhard will run in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next week rather than the Supreme still appeared on track on Saturday.
The seven-year-old triumphed in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper last season and is unbeaten in two runs over hurdles, taking his maiden by eight lengths and the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival by six.
Willie Mullins had entered the bay in both the Supreme on Tuesday and the Ballymore on Wednesday, with Richard Thompson of Cheveley Park suggesting connections were “leaning towards” the latter race when talking to Sky Sports Racing on Friday morning.
Thompson was reported by ITV Racing to have confirmed the intention to opt for the Ballymore on Saturday.
On whether he would indeed go to that race, Mullins, who was supervising his runners at Gowran Park, said: “I’ll just repeat what the owner said, that we’re leaning towards the Ballymore.”
At Gowran, Mullins won the aptly-named Best Of Luck To The Irish At Cheltenham Mares Maiden Hurdle with 11-8 favourite Gjoumi, who stormed to a facile 44-length victory under the trainer’s nephew, Danny.
Shadow Rider was another success on the card, taking the Irish Machinery Auctions Beginners Chase by seven lengths under Mark Walsh.
“He loves the ground and I was really pleased how he quickened going to the last even though he had made all the running in testing conditions,” the trainer said.
“We’ll put him up in grade and keep him to the minimum trip if we can.”