Colin Tizzard is keen to give Elixir De Nutz another chance to prove he can be live contender in the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
The Terry Warner-owned five-year-old returned from injury in Cheltenham’s International Hurdle on Saturday – his first start since January, when he claimed Grade One honours in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.
Although Elixir De Nutz beat only one rival home at the weekend, Tizzard was satisfied with the performance – given the grey’s lengthy lay-off.
The Milborne Port trainer said: “He ran fine, because he has nearly had a year off.
“We were very careful when he came in, because we didn’t want to aggravate that little injury.
“It looked to me like he needed the run – and you will see a different horse next time, I think. Some people were disappointed, but I wasn’t.”
Tizzard still has high hopes that Elixir De Nutz could make the grade at Cheltenham in March.
He added: “We can’t rule him out of being a Champion Hurdle horse yet – because until two furlongs out, he was going fine and then he just got tired.
“We might have a rethink after his next run. But we have got to give him another chance, because he blew up on Saturday, and I knew he might.
“He will improve massively for that run.”