Stuart Crawford is already dreaming of what the future may hold for Malone Road after his two dominant bumper victories this autumn.
Crawford saddled the four-year-old son of Kalanisi to win a Loughanmore point-to-point at the end of March, before selling him at the Goffs UK Aintree Sale the following month for £325,000.
He has gone some way to living up to his hefty price tag with two hugely impressive displays on the track for Gordon Elliott and Cheveley Park Stud, following his debut success at Down Royal with another from the well-regarded Mt Leinster at Punchestown.
Malone Road is already a best priced 9-2 favourite for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and Crawford believes he could eventually go right to the top over fences.
He said: “It’s been brilliant to see him do what he’s done so far – it looks like he might justify the faith we always had in him.
“Without being disrespectful to the horses he’s run against in his two bumpers, he probably faced a sterner test when he ran in his point-to-point – and he was just as impressive that day.
“I suppose the dream for everyone is that he’ll turn out to be a Gold Cup horse. He’s a long way to go to get to that sort of level, but he’s done everything right so far and he is a particularly good jumper.
“Obviously it would be great if he went to Cheltenham this season and won, before going over hurdles and ultimately over fences.”
Given Crawford is a successful trainer in his own right, he could be forgiven for wondering what might have been had he kept hold of Malone Road rather than selling him on.
However, he insists he has no mixed emotions.
He added: “That’s just part of it. We’ve sold a lot of good horses over the last few years, and if we’d kept them all we’d have had a lot more winners – but selling them on is our bread and butter.
“The most important part for us is selling them to the right owner and trainer, and I hope we’ve done that with this horse.
“I’ve actually got his full-brother in the yard, and he is starting to make his way up the pecking order.
“It would be great to think he could be in a similar mould.”