Henry de Bromhead is inclined to look towards Aintree rather than Cheltenham with Bob Olinger following his excellent effort in defeat behind State Man in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle.
The high-class nine-year-old has thrived for a return to the smaller obstacles, winning the Lismullen Hurdle in November before following up in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
The Irish Champion represented a much sterner test and also a drop in distance to two miles, but the popular gelding acquitted himself with real credit under Rachael Blackmore, with only arguably the best hurdler outside of Constitution Hill being too good.
Owned by Brian Acheson under his Robcour banner, Bob Olinger is twice a Cheltenham Festival winner, landing the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 2021 and adding the Turners Novices’ Chase 12 months later.
“We were delighted with how he ran,” said De Bromhead.
“I had a little dream for a second when he looked up turning in, but State Man is such a good horse.
“I’d say we’ll aim for Aintree now with him.”