Olly Murphy will continue to aim Thomas Darby at the top staying hurdle races following his creditable effort at Ascot on Saturday.
Races such as the Cleeve Hurdle, Stayers’ Hurdle and the Liverpool Hurdle will be considered after he backed up his Long Distance Hurdle win at Newbury with fourth place in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
“He ran really well, we’re very happy. I thought he’d win at the back of two out, just where he usually picks up and takes off. He just flattened out and got very tired from the back of the last,” said Murphy.
“I’d have loved an extra week with him, but no excuses on the day.
“He’s a horse that has proved he can compete at the highest level and whether we go Cleeve Hurdle and then Cheltenham or we go straight to Cheltenham or Cleeve Hurdle and Aintree, I’m not sure. But he’s a very good horse.
“He got a good ride off Fergus Gregory having his first ride in a Grade One and he’s a horse that’s got plenty of ability.”
Murphy also had news on Brewin’upastorm who is on course for the Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 1.
The eight-year-old made a triumphant return in the Betway Hurdle at Aintree last month after 212 days off the track.
“He’s good. I’m looking forward to running him at Cheltenham in 10 days or so,” said Murphy.
“He goes there a fresh horse. He’s really well in himself and I couldn’t be happier with him.”