John Quinn believes Countrywide Flame will only be seen at his best when ground conditions improve.
Last year's Triumph Hurdle hero, who landed the Fighting Fifth earlier in the season, takes in Monday's 32Red Hurdle at Doncaster on the back of a disappointing fourth behind the reopposing Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.
"He's fit and well and schooled well the other day, so I'm looking forward to running him on Monday," said the North Yorkshire handler.
"The ground will be more suitable than what he's been running on so far this season and I do think once the ground really dries up in the spring he'll be even better.
"I think he'll run a good race on Monday, but it's not Cheltenham and that's what we're really looking forward to.
"We know he loves Cheltenham, he showed that in the Triumph Hurdle last year, and as I was saying to someone the other day, if he hadn't kicked the last hurdle out of the ground he'd have won the Triumph Hurdle by six lengths.
"Monday is a good opportunity to get him out again on a bit of nice ground, so we'll see how we go."
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