Chris Gordon is poised to aim versatile Aucunrisque at Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle in a fortnight’s time and has all but ruled him out of a tilt over fences on Saturday.
The seven-year-old has won four of six races over hurdles, but has been campaigned in chases so far this term.
Having won on his fencing bow at Uttoxeter, he was runner-up to Frere D’Armes in the Fulke Walwyn Trophy at Newbury and was then beaten a length by Boothill in the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
Though he holds an entry in the MND Association Race For Research Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster on Saturday, the Hampshire-based handler would sooner run him over hurdles before reverting to fences at the Cheltenham Festival.
“I’m very keen to run him in the Betfair,” said Gordon. “He’s also in the Grade Two on Saturday and if it breaks up, we might go for that, but I just think that he’s on a mark of 145, which is high enough for him over fences anyway.
“If he went and ran a blinder on Saturday, he could potentially go up 1lb or more.
“We’d like to go for the Grand Annual with him, but there we are on a mark of 138 for the Betfair, which makes a bit more sense, to go and have a run there.
“If we got lucky, it probably won’t affect our chase mark, so that’s the way I’d like to go, really.
“He’s in great form and we’re really pleased with him. Him and Highway One O Two, the plan is that both of those will go for the Betfair.”
Gordon has had a relatively quiet spell after a storming start to the season and is keen to get the ball rolling again.
“We’ve had it quiet in December, because we had a bit of a sniffle and we’ve been very quiet through January because we had to give them a flu jab,” he said.
“I had to back off them a fair bit and we are just about to get going.”