Dublin Racing Festival winner Treacysenniscorthy will not be heading to Cheltenham next month, with trainer Robert Widger instead choosing to stay closer to home.
Former Tingle Creek-winning jockey Widger has picked out races at Navan and Punchestown for his rapidly-improving eight-year-old, who has won five of his last six races.
While his improvement has mostly come over hurdles, though, he will now be heading over fences.
“He’s come out of the race very well, but we’ve made the decision not to go to Cheltenham and we’ll go to Navan instead for a novice handicap chase and then hopefully for another one at Punchestown,” said Widger, who won the Tingle Creek on Flagship Uberalles.
“His chase mark is lower, but it’s more because he had trouble with a knee a few years ago. Because he’s in such good nick now, I want to look after him.
“Cheltenham is brilliant, but there’s great prize money in Ireland. You can go to Cheltenham, just get beat and finish sixth.
“The Navan race is worth 65,000 euros and there’s a novice handicap chase at Punchestown worth 105,000 euros, which is on a par, if not better than some races at Cheltenham.
“For such a big horse, the best he’s travelled all year was probably on the quickest ground he’s raced on when he won his beginners’ chase at Listowel. He’s a big, top-heavy horse so you’d think soft side of good is as quick as he’d want it.
“If he doesn’t get his ground at Punchestown, there are races like the Troytown and the Paddy Power at Leopardstown we can look at with him. It’s not beyond the realms he’d have a chance in races like that.
“Kevin (Brouder) said to me the other day he didn’t think he’d set much of a gallop, yet I saw Davy Russell who thought they’d gone quick, because of his stride you don’t realise how quick you are going.”