Both Fil Dor and Caldwell Potter are due to be upped in trip after pleasing runs for Gordon Elliott and Caldwell Construction last weekend.
Fil Dor looked a good novice chase prospect last season when winning his debut over fences by four lengths from Saint Roi, but when he met the same horse in the Grade One Racing Post App Novice Chase at Leopardstown he made a jumping error and came home third behind him.
The incident seemed to knock his confidence and after finishing fifth to El Fabiolo in the Irish Arkle he reverted to hurdling and won the Grade Three Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park next time out.
This season he was back to give fences another go and in the Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas he looked to have regained his appetite for jumping when finishing second.
At Cork Fil Dor was then set a stiff task when taking on Arkle winner El Fabiolo in the Hilly Way but he was not disgraced when chasing the 1-5 favourite home to finish second by four and three-quarter lengths.
Connections were heartened by the run, especially as they feel their gelding will be better suited by an extended trip in the future.
Joey Logan, racing manager to owners Caldwell Construction, said: “We were very pleased with him, his jumping was very nice and his confidence is coming back.
“We ran him last year in a Grade One at Leopardstown and he landed on a fence and he lost his confidence. We gave him a break and Gordon’s done a great job of getting him back.
“We were very pleased with the run the other day, obviously we are going to step up to two and a half miles as two miles is a bit short for him, but we were delighted with that.
“We’ve done a good bit a schooling with him and we’re very happy with his jumping, we’re going to step him up now – that’s the plan.”
Of the next outing for the horse Logan added: “We’re not too sure yet, we’ll pick and choose.
“We’re not going to rush him as it’s all about confidence and he’s only five, we’ll speak to Gordon and make a plan for where we’re going to go next.”
The same silks were in the winner’s enclosure at Navan last Saturday as Caldwell Potter took a two-mile maiden hurdle by seven lengths on his second start over obstacles.
The five-year-old is a full-brother to Mighty Potter, Caldwell Construction and Elliott’s Grade One-winning novice chaser who looked set for a highly successful career before he was fatally injured in a fall at Fairyhouse in April.
Caldwell Potter has been patiently handled by Elliott, contesting four bumpers before making his hurdles debut when second in a Punchestown maiden last month.
Navan was his next outing and there he was an eyecatching winner, strolling to a wide-margin success on heavy ground under Jack Kennedy.
Like his late brother he is destined for greater tests of stamina and could be seen after the turn of the new year.
Logan said: “We’re very happy with him, he ran a cracker at Navan. He got a lot stronger over the summer and the further he goes, the better.
“The other day he was very good on testing ground at Navan, he’ll probably be a two-and-a-half-mile hurdler and we’re very happy.
“He puts his head down and he keeps going to the line.
“We’ll make a decision, it’s a bit tight but maybe between now and the new year. We might go to the Dublin Festival with him but we’ll see how things go.”
One horse with his place booked at the Leopardstown meeting over the festive period is Mighty Bandit, a three-year-old who made an impression on his racecourse debut when taking a Punchestown maiden hurdle by nine and a half lengths.
The form from that race has been boosted by the third-placed horse, Joseph O’Brien’s Harsh, who has since won a Cork maiden by eight lengths.
The Mercedes-Benz South Dublin Juvenile Hurdle, formerly the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle, a Grade Two at Leopardstown, is next on the agenda for the gelding.
“He looks to be a very promising horse,” Logan said.
“He won nine lengths on his debut. He was a very raw, big baby – 16.3 (hands high). His form was boosted again by the horse he beat by nearly 10 lengths the other day.
“He looks to be very promising and we’re looking forward to running him in Leopardstown in the Grade Two.”
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