Jeremy Scott may be forced to drop Dashel Drasher down in trip or even revert to hurdles for his next race due to the lack of opportunities over his optimum distance.
The long-term target is to try to win the Betfair Ascot Chase over two miles and five furlongs at the Berkshire track for the second successive year in February.
Scott was pleased with Dashel Drasher’s third place behind Lostintranslation in the Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot on Saturday on his seasonal reappearance – but where to go next is posing a problem.
“I was really pleased. He trotted up 100 per cent sound. He’s gone out in the field, no lumps and bumps. We were delighted with him. I thought he ran a good race,” said the Somerset handler.
“The ground was just a bit quick and the fact Master Tommytucker (who finished second) turned the form around (from the Ascot Chase) was probably as much to do with Master Tommytucker having had a race, so we probably fell a little bit short in terms of sharpness and fitness. I was delighted with him really.
“If it had been softer perhaps we’d have struggled more with fitness, but on the whole I thought he ran very well.”
Dashel Drasher holds an entry in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but Scott believes three miles is too far.
“It’s difficult finding the next race. He is in the King George, but I’m not convinced he’d see out three miles, especially looking at the competition that’s around,” he went on.
“We might look for a slightly lower target if we can, but it’s extraordinarily difficult finding races. I’ve looked in Ireland and I can’t find anything. We’ll have a good search through. We might revert to hurdles to tide us over. We’ll be aiming to go back to Ascot for the race in February he won last year.
“It wouldn’t worry if we dropped back in trip if the ground was soft enough – a drop back to two-miles-three and see how we got on. The ground would have to be testing enough.
“It’s lovely having a horse of that ability, but you can’t believe how hard it is to find races for those horses. You’d think there’d be a race a month, but if you look through and want to stay to two and a half miles there are so few races unless you go in handicaps, which is another option.
“We’ll see how he comes out of it and try to make a plan in the next 10 days as to exactly where we’re going to go.”