John Quinn is likely to give Countrywide Flame one more run before going for glory in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
The son of Haafhd could not follow up his Fighting Fifth success when only fourth to Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day. However, the North Yorkshire trainer has lost none of his faith in the horse, who gave him a Festival success in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, and believes there will be other days for his stable star.
Quinn reports Countrywide Flame to have come out of his Kempton exertions in good form and will consider the possible options before heading to Prestbury Park for top honours.
"On the day there were no excuses and there will be another day when there's a bit of pace on and things like that, but the main thing is the horse is fine," said Quinn.
"All being well, he'll run before Cheltenham. I haven't really thought about it yet, but there's the Morebattle at Kelso and I'll enter him in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
"There's the Kingwell at Wincanton, but I'm not sure about that track for him. There are only probably only two or three places he can run, but if we're happy with him he'll definitely run before Cheltenham."
Kashmir Peak is Quinn's hope for the Triumph this spring after the former Ger Lyons inmate has shown his aptitude for jumps with solid victories at Market Rasen and Doncaster.
The trainer is also looking to give him another run ahead of the juvenile championship.
"He's in good fettle. He might go for the Trial race at Musselburgh early in February and there's a race in Leopardstown that month as well," said Quinn.
13 December 2013Court team mull next move
New tackles International test
Jockeys Fund boost from Limerick
Alexander suffers facial injuries
Bolger back on cross-country trail
Theatre puts on Peterborough show
Artiste draws away from rivals
National hero lined up for Wetherby
Tizzard using Hennessy as a Guide
Whisky out for early redemption
Spirit going for golden double
Break for Balder after Sandown run
McCoy wants rain for Fishers
12 December 2013Pulses set racing at Newcastle
'Nasty cut' for Alexander
Dr Turner to leave BHA role
No problems at Kempton
McCoy mulls Gold decision
Butler appeals five-year ban
Burgoyne to take Triumph test
Fog claims Kempton card
Honeyball upbeat despite Regal loss
Byron has more targets overseas
O'Meara considers Ascot raid
Johnson excited by Captain's return
African reverts to timber
Return to Oz is Simenon's goal
11 December 2013Kempton hope for third-time lucky
McNeile leaves Cheltenham role
Kempton to inspect again
Fog claims Lingfield card
Three held over £2.4m VAT fraud
Home Farm denied Gold run
Three held in tax probe
BHA's Brickell at corruption summit
Hills has Smart purring
McCoy praise for retired Binocular
St Nick continues recovery fight
Big guns remain in Navan feature
New course key for Attaglance
Diakali team consider Relkeel run
Ruby given chase entry
Star pair head International list
10 December 2013Binocular bows out
Rock team plan positive tactics
Gold fails to sparkle
Regal takes Hexham test
Thyestes aim for Cootamundra
Walsh sweet on Arvika switch
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Aintree aim for Busy
Grand National aim for Your Busy
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
Jacob all set for Al Ferof
Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Betfair goal for Trouble