Nicky Richards is shying away from a trip to next month's Cheltenham Festival with Duke Of Navan despite another impressive display in the BetVictor Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso.
The Greystoke handler has endured a couple of relatively quiet campaigns since the retirement of stable stalwart Monet's Garden in 2010, but has a new spring in his step this term following the emergence of both Duke Of Navan and the equally exciting novice hurdler Eduard.
With plenty to find at the ratings with favourite Any Given Day, Richards' charge was allowed to go off at 5-2 and was always travelling smoothly under Brian Harding. Although a peck on landing gave his rival a chance, Harding's mount picked up well on the run-in to take the prize by two and a half lengths.
Duke Of Navan is engaged in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March but, like Eduard, is more likely to wait for the Grand National meeting at Aintree in April.
Richards said: "We'll just let the dust settle. He's in at Cheltenham, but we might give that a miss. The two-mile novice (Supreme) looks very hot. He'll probably go to Aintree I would imagine.
"He's a horse I want to develop. I think mentally and physically he's got a bit of developing still to do, so I don't see any benefit of going down to Cheltenham at the moment. We try to buy these type of horses and it's lovely when you get two nice ones like them. It's nice to get out of bed to two lovely horses like that."
Richards completed a double when 3-1 shot Brijomi Queen landed the mares' bumper for the second year in succession.
Coverholder is beginning to look an extremely shrewd purchase after he notched his second win since joining Sue Smith in the Watch Racing UK On Freeview 231 Handicap Hurdle.
The six-year-old was snapped up for 6,000 guineas after winning a Catterick seller for Tim Vaughan in late December and bolted up on his debut for new connections at Doncaster last week. Turned out quickly, the 8-11 favourite easily got the job done again, scoring by five lengths under Jonathan England.
Brian Ellison's Totalize (9-4) ran out a clear-cut winner of the Harry Hill Novices' Hurdle under a fine ride from Danny Cook, while utsider-of-three Kruzhlinin (6-1) claimed the Lloyd Grimme Novices' Chase for the formidable duo Donald McCain and Jason Maguire.
24 November 2015Further funding secured for Great British Racing International
Dan and Harry Skelton hit Lingfield double
Emma Lavelle sets sights on chase campaign for Closing Ceremony
Willie Mullins dominates Royal Bond entries at Fairyhouse
No More Heroes heads Drinmore contenders at Fairyhouse
Neil Mulholland thrilled with Fox Norton Cheltenham effort
Emma Lavelle outlines Ascot aim for Junction Fourteen
Arctic Fire in perfect Hatton's Grace 10
Jonjo O'Neill eyeing low-key target for Minella Rocco
Hennessy robbed of star turn as Coneygree misses race
Jonjo O'Neill set to ease Holywell in grade
Coneygree forced out of Hennessy after schooling session
Evan Williams pinpoints two options for "frustrating" Buywise
Potters Legend to be sent hurdling by Lucy Wadham
Harry Fry excited by prospect of seeing Bitofapuzzle over fences
Nicky Henderson in no rush to decide on Bobs Worth pilot in Hennessy
David Pipe confirms Moon Racer setback
Medicean Man back in business at Chelmsford
Delight for David Dennis as King's Song hits right note at Ludlow
Former jockey Darren Egan disqualified following corruption hearing
International mission at Cheltenham for Peace And Co and My Tent Or Yours
Vroum Vroum Mag stars in Carlisle weekend entry
Morello Royale denies Polly in Kempton Listed affair
Vaniteux makes victorious start to chasing career at Kempton
Coneygree stands firm at top of Hennessy field
Wicklow Brave and Identity Thief added to Fighting Fifth field
23 November 2015Victoria Pendleton closes in on point-to-point ride this weekend
Brain powers to Kempton victory for Nicky Henderson
Cheltenham and Navan options for Robbie Hennessy's Rubi Light
Alvarado on Grand National trail again
Rebecca Curtis eyeing King George option for Irish Cavalier
Barry Connell confirms hurdles plan for Cheltenham winner Martello Tower
Willie Mullins expecting 'cracking' King George with Vautour
Monksland in Drinmore picture after Gowran win
Well-connected Augusta Kate scores for Alan Shearer and company
Troytown glory for Riverside City and Jack Kennedy
Douvan delivers on chasing debut at Navan
Falcon Crest impresses in Monksfield victory
Woodland Opera books big-race ticket with Navan success
Coneygree back on Hennessy trail after delighting in Sunday gallop
Ptit Zig connections mull Vautour King George rematch
22 November 2015New sponsor to be sought for Cheltenham Gold Cup
Owner Barry Connell confirms Hatton's Grace aim for Gwencily Berbas
Betfair announced as new Tingle Creek Chase sponsor
Ryan Moore steers Maurice to Kyoto Grade One triumph
Tom George eyeing Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon for God's Own
Race Day secures Finals place with victory at Lingfield
Returning Vautour battles to Ascot victory for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Cue Card claims Betfair Chase glory at Haydock to set up bonus bid
Meade delight as Monksland makes winning debut over fences
Rock On Ruby sparkles for Harry Fry in Coral Hurdle at Ascot
Baradari lands 'Fixed Brush' riches at Haydock
Irving takes Haydock honours for Paul Nicholls
Emperor's Choice reigns on return to action at Haydock
American gives connections plenty to dream about as he opens account
21 November 2015Plans on hold for Annie Power after the brilliant mare suffers a setback
Cue Card stars in Betfair Chase at Haydock
Willie Mullins' Vautour successful on Ascot reappearance
Baby King gives Paddy Brennan perfect start with victory at Haydock
Sandra Hughes wary of Navan ground for Troytown hope
Ruby Walsh keen to see Douvan over fences at Navan
Gordon Elliott sets sights on Troytown repeat
Ed Dunlop heartbroken by loss of Red Cadeaux
Gary Moore enjoys double success on racecourse return
Harry Fry hoping for dry run with Rock On Ruby
'Quick and slick' Simonsig delights Nicky Henderson in schooling session
'Exciting' Douvan all set for chasing debut at Navan
Warren Greatrex hopeful Shantou Bob has plenty in his favour for Fixed Brush
Irving primed for clash with Top Notch at Haydock
Gary Moore: Sire De Grugy more like his old self and heading to Sandown
Colin Tizzard taking his Cue from Card in Betfair Chase
Paul Nicholls looks to Silviniaco Conti for seventh Betfair Chase triumph