Lucinda Russell’s exciting novice chaser Ahoy Senor will be Kempton-bound on Boxing Day so long as the going proves suitable.
The six-year-old was a 66-1 winner of the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree in April – beating Bravemansgame – but has not been underestimated in such a way since, going off at 5-2 for a testing debut over fences in the Listed Colin Parker Chase at Carlisle in October.
Though unseating two from home, Ahoy Senor still caught the eye in travelling and jumping with notable fluency and then went on to exhibit his true scope when winning the John Francome Novices’ Chase at Newbury in November by a deeply impressive 31 lengths.
Russell has identified the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase as his Cheltenham Festival target, with the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton the likely next port of call should the ground be to his liking.
“We’re getting him ready to go to Kempton, but it depends really on the ground,” the trainer said.
“I wouldn’t want to run him on good ground so it just depends on how we get on and what the weather forecast does.”
The Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick in January has also been mentioned alongside Lingfield’s Winter Million Novice’s Chase later in the same month.
Both races are still options for the bay, but if the ground at Kempton is suitably soft then the Kauto Star will be the initial aim.
“At the moment that’s what we’re doing, if he doesn’t go there he’s got the options of Warwick and Lingfield,” said Russell.
“We’ll see where we go, but our preference would be the Kauto Star.
“He looks great at the minute, he’s very well.”