Options remain fluid for Elixir De Nutz and Eldorado Allen following their fine displays at Newbury.
Both rising 10 in the new year, the Joe Tizzard-trained duo seem to be in rude health as they approach the veteran stage of their careers.
Elixir De Nutz was a Grade One winner over hurdles in his novice days, but has formed a great association with the trainer’s nephew Freddie Gingell this term, with the pairing following up their Haldon Gold Cup triumph by defying a career-high rating in the Jim Joel Memorial Trophy at Newbury.
Now rated 156, there is little wiggle room left in the handicap ranks, with a return to Graded company a possibility in 2024.
“It was a strong performance (at Newbury) and he seems to be in the form of his life,” said Tizzard.
“He was a really exciting horse as a youngster and then injuries plagued him and he has gradually built himself back up over the last few years.
“If you saw him (the morning after), he was loving life, he was fresh as paint and he’s really going in the right direction.
“Fred seems to get a real good tune out of him and he has done since the first day he schooled him – and it’s lovely to have an older horse like him doing what he’s doing.
“He’s nearly going to have his hand forced and I guess we’ll cross that bridge later. I was thinking of going Desert Orchid with him, but he’s obviously going to have a lot of weight in that and the door might just be open for different things.
“I’m quite keen to keep him in smaller-field races, he seems to like that – and if that forces us into Graded company, then it does.”
Meanwhile, Tizzard was delighted with another profitable run from Eldorado Allen following his fourth-placed finish in the Coral Gold Cup.
His most recent victory, and arguably his finest hour, came when winning the Denman Chase in 2022 and since then he has consistently run in some of the biggest races on the calendar.
However, with his rating beginning to fall, there are plenty of options open for the Venn Farm inmate moving forward and Tizzard believes he deserves a return to the scoresheet in the near future.
“I was really, really pleased with him and the handicapper has certainly given him a chance to be competitive in these big races,” continued Tizzard.
“Where we go is tricky, especially with all this rain that has come. He is still in the Welsh National and that will be open for discussion, but I’ll probably enter him in the Grand National as well, so he could be putting himself in that picture.
“He’s not the easiest horse to place where we think he can win, but he’s ultra-consistent, places in all these big races and doesn’t owe us a lot.
“He’s picked up a lot of prize-money along the way and at the turn of the year, he’s a veteran as well and that would open up another window – especially off his mark now.
“There’s a lot to think about and it would be really nice to get his head in front again, as the horse deserves it. Although he’s picking up lots of prize-money, he deserves to win one, so we will pick and choose a bit.”