Kim Bailey will let the dust settle on Charbel’s defeat at Kempton on Saturday before committing to future targets.
The eight-year-old has enjoyed a fine season so far – winning a Chepstow handicap and finishing second to Politologue in a Grade Two at Ascot before delivering the big-race victory he has long promised in the Edredon Bleu Chase, better known as the Peterborough, at Huntingdon.
He went in search of another win in Listed company over the weekend, but could finish only third behind Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch and the Paul Nicholls-trained Black Corton.
Bailey said: “He’s fine. I don’t think the watered ground really suit him – he just couldn’t bounce off it like he can on better ground.
“He’s come out of the race absolutely fine, so we’ll see how he is in the next week or so – and make a plan from there.”
Charbel’s only Cheltenham Festival entry is in the Ryanair Chase, and next month’s Ascot Chase is a potential stepping-stone along the way.
“He’s got all those options, so we’ll see,” said Bailey.
Another Bailey inmate who went into Saturday with apparently strong claims of landing a significant win was Rocky’s Treasure.
Having won four of his previous five starts over fences, the Westerner gelding was a hot favourite for a Listed prize at Warwick.
However, he also had to make do with minor honours behind Henderson’s Ok Corral and the Nicholls-trained Secret Investor – and Bailey feels his charge simply had his limitations exposed.
He added: “I wasn’t too disappointed with him, to be honest. On hurdles form he’d have been 25 lengths behind the horse that finished last (White Moon).
“The winner is a good horse, and the runner-up won the Persian War (Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow) earlier in the season. Our horse wouldn’t have been able to do that, and I think he was maybe a bit over-hyped after winning a few races over fences.
“The tight track wouldn’t have been ideal, but I’m not making excuses – he just wasn’t good enough, and I think the form will work out well.”
Rocky’s Treasure also had the option of running in the three-mile-five-furlong Classic Chase at Warwick.
Bailey said: “I was very tempted to run him in the handicap. and in hindsight that’s what we should have done. But everything is easy with hindsight.
“There’s a few options for him – and it will be interesting to see what the handicapper does to him, if anything.”