O’Toole target under discussion following victorious hurdles bow

Connections will take their time in planning the next move for the promising O’Toole after his first hurdling triumph in a maiden event at Down Royal.

The Stuart Crawford-trained six-year-old has hardly put a foot wrong in three starts to date, winning his bumper debut by 15 lengths at Fairyhouse in February before coming home behind Kilcruit in the Grade One bumper at Punchestown in April.

The Down Royal contest was the Isaac Souede and Simon Munir-owned chestnut’s first run over hurdles and he did not disappoint, comfortably justifying his status as the 4-9 favourite with an impressive seven-and-a-half-length victory.

“It was a good wee exercise, it was a good starting point at our local track and not only that, there was good prize-money in that particular race, too,” Crawford said.

“With all of those things we couldn’t have been happier with how the horse has gone, he’s taken it all in his stride so we’ll plot our next target now.”

O’Toole is a chasing prospect for the yard and while his sole hurdles run ended in a taking victory, he will not be heavily campaigned over the smaller obstacles as his future career over fences is prioritised.

“We’d be very wary of over-facing him too much this term, hopefully he can develop into being a Grade One horses over fences,” said Crawford.

“That’s what he was bought to do and hopefully he can fulfil that someday.

“Anyone that watched him there the other day definitely would regard him as chaser in the making, he’s jumping his hurdles, he’s not hurdling them.

“He’s big, clean jumper and that’s that’s definitely what we’re going to be viewing him as, longer-term anyway.”

Although there are no confirmed targets at present, a trip across the Irish Sea could be an option and the going is not likely to dictate the gelding’s next move.

“There’d be a couple of different options there for him, he could very well end up going across to the north of England for a novice hurdle over there and get a bit more experience that way. Our plans are open, we haven’t thought too far ahead just yet,” Crawford said.

“Hopefully there’s a lot to look forward to with him and hopefully he’s a horse that wouldn’t be ground dependent either.

“He’d handle softer ground and in the spring he’s proven he’ll go on nicer, better ground as well.”

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