Cornerstone Lad will head to Haydock for the Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial on January 18, as he looks to back up his Fighting Fifth Hurdle success.
Micky Hammond’s charge caused a major upset when beating dual champion hurdler Buveur D’Air at Newcastle, and while it later transpired the runner-up had picked up an injury, Cornerstone Lad still had the likes of Silver Streak and Lady Buttons well beaten off.
Hammond will also consider the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso for his charge, but Haydock is his preferred option.
“He’ll go to Haydock – we’re very happy with him,” said Hammond.
“It was great to see Lady Buttons and Silver Streak come out of the race and run very well over Christmas.
“Nicky Henderson’s filly (Epatante) was very impressive at Kempton, as she was at Newbury the same day we won the Fighting Fifth, but I can only talk about mine really and he’s in good form.
“We’d like to think he stands a chance of improving, the more good races he runs in, the better he will become. He should have his ground at this time of year, or I could consider the Morebattle Hurdle.
“It’s not all about this season with him, he could make a very nice novice chaser next season – he’s got plenty of scope and he’s still learning his trade.”