Jamie Snowden is tempted to take his smart prospect Thebannerkingrebel to Leopardstown at Christmas for the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle.
The Grade One prize on December 27 is one of two options the Lambourn handler is weighing up for the six-year-old, along with the Grade Two Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock on January 18.
After losing his unbeaten record over hurdles when falling at the last at Wetherby on his penultimate start, Thebannerkingrebel bounced back to form with a decisive success in a Listed event at Haydock.
Snowden said: “We always knew a good performance was waiting to happen. He did it really nicely at Haydock and hopefully that will give us a springboard to graded level.
“The race I would like to go to is the Rossington Main back at Haydock, but the only issue with January is you never know what the weather is going to do, so I’ve just put him in a Grade One at Leopardstown at Christmas.
“Whatever the weather is in America we tend to see remnants two weeks later, so we can see by the time of the Leopardstown race what the weather might be doing for Haydock, then we can decide which race to go for.
“We like to think he might be a Supreme horse and if he is we shouldn’t be too afraid of going to Ireland.”
Stablemate Pacify, who is part-owned by the Duchess Of Cornwall, could bid to bounce back from his first defeat over obstacles in the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on January 4.
Snowden said: “It was a good run at Cheltenham, but no one likes finishing second. I think he ran very creditably in defeat, giving away 5lb in ground that wouldn’t necessarily be completely to his liking.
“He might be one for the Tolworth, then see where we go in March. Sandown can quite testing, but he showed he can handle that at Cheltenham and maybe without that 5lb penalty we might see a different result.”
Runaway Hexham scorer Kiltealy Briggs is likely to step up in both class and trip, with Snowden earmarking the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in two weeks’ time as his next port of call.
He said: “We wanted to find a race where he could get his head in front and have a bit of confidence off the back of three seconds, so we went to Hexham where he won an EBF qualifier, barely coming out of a hack canter.
“He looks useful and is qualified for the EBF final so that is definitely an option. We might just see how high he can go first and there is that three-mile Grade Two at Cheltenham in December.”
Snowden plans to work back from the Grade Two Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Finale at Newbury in March with recent Listed bumper runner-up Legends Ryde.
He said: “She is only eligible to run in one more Listed bumper or alternatively a graded bumper.
“I think rather than continue down the bumper route we will kick on over hurdles. We will work back from Newbury in March.
“There is a novice at Hexham on December 11, then we will run her in January and February before looking at the Newbury race.”