Jedd O’Keeffe feels the time is right to give Tavus a chance at Grade One level in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow on Friday.
The three-year-old gelding, a 105,000 guineas purchase out of Roger Charlton’s stable, made the perfect start to his career over jumps when getting up close home to collar Navajo Pass at Newcastle.
While the runner-up has franked the form with victory in a Grade Two contest at Doncaster, Tavus has been training well ahead of tackling stronger company himself.
“Obviously we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do stepped up in grade,” said O’Keeffe.
“We’re happy with him at home. He’s done some schooling since his first run which has been excellent and he’s training very nicely.
“The ground shouldn’t be an issue, the track should be fine. It’s going to be a stamina test.
“The two highest in the betting are very much the ones to worry about – Joseph O’Brien’s and Dan Skelton’s – but we felt it was time to have a go.”
Skelton runs Allmankind, who is two from two after lifting the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.
The Alcester handler would have been happier if Cerberus had stayed in Ireland, but reports his representative to be in fine shape.
“I’m a bit annoyed Joseph O’Brien thinks he has to go to Chepstow! Apart from that he’s in great form,” said Skelton.
“I’m very happy with him. He looks fantastic. There are no negatives.
“I wanted to try to give him a break. I gave him about three days, but he was so fresh and well I thought we’d better run him.
Cerberus has changed ownership since making all to win as Grade Three heat at Fairyhouse and now wears the colours of JP McManus.
“Joseph (O’Brien) is very happy with him. It’s a competitive little race and we’re hoping for a good run,” said McManus’s racing manager, Frank Berry.
“We’ll see how he goes. He won’t mind the ground.”
The Neil King-trained Nordano, successful over the course and distance and fourth to Allmankind at Cheltenham, plus Stuart Edmunds’ Warwick scorer Maskada, are the other previous winners among the nine horses declared.