Ronald Pump is likely to skip an outing in the Boyne Hurdle and head straight to the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle next month.
Trainer Matthew Smith had been considering a trip to Navan for his stable star, who was second to Lisnagar Oscar in the Cheltenham event last season.
Ronald Pump was last seen chasing home Honeysuckle over two and a half miles in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, going down by half a length – form which looks even better now, given the exploits of the winner in the Irish Champion Hurdle at the weekend.
“I’d say Ronald Pump will head straight for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham,” said Smith.
“I was thinking about the Boyne Hurdle (on Sunday February 21) but really there is no point in going to Navan and maybe getting a hard race on heavy ground.
“It’s also getting that bit closer to Cheltenham, so it would be better to go straight there – and he runs well fresh.
“He missed Leopardstown at Christmas with a stone bruise, but it held him up a bit longer than we expected. He’s fine now and in good form.”