Aspire Tower looks set to be given the chance to be a Champion Hurdle horse next season.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding ended his campaign with second place in a dramatic renewal of the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, going down by two and three-quarter lengths to Burning Victory having rallied bravely up the hill after Goshen unseated at the last with the race at his mercy.
The Born To Sea gelding had won his first two starts over obstacles before falling when odds on at Leopardstown in February, and his trainer feels he still has room for improvement in the jumping department.
De Bromhead said: “I thought he jumped very left in the Triumph and he may have got a fright at the first or it could have been the fall (at Leopardstown). He’d been schooling well at home, but apart from about three hurdles I thought he jumped badly.
“I felt he didn’t run up to his form, but it was testament to him that he stayed on to finish second after jumping the way he did.
“He won’t run on the Flat this summer. He will have a good break now and we’ll bring him back for next year.
“I would think we will give him a chance to go down the Champion Hurdle route. I haven’t discussed it with the lads, but he’s entitled to have a look.
“We could start off by looking at races for second-season novices, maybe the one in Down Royal (Grade Two WKD Hurdle). He seems to finish out his races well and you could look at any trip with him.”
Reflecting on his week at the Festival, De Bromhead took great satisfaction from the opening day, with Put The Kettle On claiming the Arkle Trophy and Honeysuckle triumphing in the Mares’ Hurdle.
He said: “Tuesday was a great day with both the mares winning and Minella Indo, A Plus Tard and Monalee all ran well. There were a few disappointments as well, but all in all over the week we would have to be happy.
“We haven’t discussed plans for Honeysuckle yet. We have a long summer now so we will be able to give it plenty of thought.
“Put The Kettle On was brilliant. She had a summer campaign last year, but we’ll be leaving her off now and bring her back in the autumn.
“She has earned a crack at the good two-mile chases now and there are also mares’ races to think of. She seems to love Cheltenham, which is great. She is a lovely mare and has loads of options.
“There was nothing obvious wrong with Notebook (favourite for the Arkle but last of the six finishers). He ran a similar race to Cash Back at Cheltenham and maybe that race they had at Leopardstown in February took more out of them than we thought.”
De Bromhead was happy with Monalee in the Magners Gold Cup, where he was fourth to Al Boum Photo.
He said: “Monalee ran a blinder. We gave him a break after Christmas and he was in great form on the day. Things just didn’t quite fall his way at a few points in the race, but he still ran really well.”
But Captain Guinness might have been one that got away, being brought down at the penultimate hurdle in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle when still going strongly.
De Bromhead said: “Captain Guinness was unlucky in the Supreme. The horse jumped into him and then fell in front of him. He looked to be going well and Rachael (Blackmore) was happy with him at the time. It was just unfortunate, but thankfully he’s fine.
“He’s schooled well and will go chasing next season.”