Paul Nicholls is confident Cyrname will have the required stamina on his first attempt at three miles in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
Jump racing’s newest star, who brought Altior’s unbeaten 19-race streak to an end at Ascot last month, has never raced over further than two miles and five furlongs.
While there are those who believe Kempton’s flat circuit offers horses with suspect stamina the best chance of getting home over three miles, the relentless pace of a championship race ensures a real test.
“He is exactly where we want him,” said Nicholls.
“He has got form around Kempton, because he won the Wayward Lad and Pendil Novices’ Chase.
“A flat track suits him, so he has a lot in his favour.”
It is by relative chance how things have worked out, rather than a definite plan, that Cyrname has not previously tackled three miles.
Nicholls added: “He has never run over three, but he stayed on strongly over two and a half in the Scilly Isles, and he has won over two and a half at Kempton and then at Ascot over two-five – if you stay on strongly there, you should get three miles.
“He is bred to stay, and it is not like you have got the Cheltenham hill late on. At Ascot, he turns into that straight and just keeps galloping – so I don’t see three miles being a problem at all.
“The races have just suited – that’s why I’ve not gone three miles.”
While Cyrname was a Grade Two winner as a novice, Nicholls admitted to being surprised at the heights he has since reached in a short period of time.
He said: “I thought he would be a 150 (rated) chaser one day, but I didn’t think he would go this far.
“It is astonishing how he has improved. I think you could easily get a lead on him, but everything about him is now totally different.”
Nicholls’ hopes of an 11th King George do not rest solely on Cyrname – because he is also able to field last year’s winner, Clan Des Obeaux.
While stable jockey Harry Cobden has opted for Cyrname, Nicholls has been delighted with the defending champion since his seasonal return at Down Royal.
He said: “I’m very happy with him.
“He is a very competitive horse. He loves going right-handed and Kempton seems to suit him.
“They go a real good gallop, and it’s a flat track, so there are a lot of pluses. He has kept his coat and looks amazing.
“He has improved from Down Royal. He is in really good shape, and I couldn’t be happier with his prep.”
Last season Clan Des Obeaux ran in the Betfair Chase before his big breakthrough win, but Nicholls was keen to avoid that this time around.
“I didn’t want to give him a hard race in the Betfair Chase, and that race (Down Royal) was great timing to give him a break and then get him fit for now,” added Nicholls.
“Last year, he improved massively from Haydock to Kempton, and he has done the same now.”