Nigel Twiston-Davies still has faith that Al Dancer can develop into a genuine Arkle contender – despite another defeat at Kempton.
The grey could finish only fourth to Global Citizen in the Wayward Lad Chase, albeit beaten only four lengths.
Where he runs next is undecided, with the availability of jockey Sam Twiston-Davies central to plans.
The Cotswolds trainer said: “He was only beaten four lengths in the end, and Kempton was probably not his track.
“He is still a lovely horse, and we are not panicking – getting beaten is one of those things.
“The Kingmaker (at Warwick) could be a possibility, but the problem is it is the same day (February 8) as Newbury (Betfair Hurdle) – and Sam is likely to be there, and I like him to ride him.
“We do still think of him as an Arkle horse. We may go up in trip at some point as well, but we’ve not decided on anything yet.”
Stablemate Ballyandy ran another good race at Kempton, when third in the Christmas Hurdle, and is now set to head to Haydock.
Twiston-Davies added: “It was a really good run in the Christmas Hurdle, and that track wouldn’t have really suited him at all.
“It was a superb run – we are looking forward to the Champion Hurdle.
“I think going back to two miles has made the difference, because he seems much better over that.
“The Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock could definitely be next for him. He would go to the Champion Hurdle as an each-way chance – because Cheltenham is his track.”