Jamie Snowden believes Thebannerkingrebel has the ideal profile to be competitive in next month’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
The Lambourn trainer is keen to run the seven-year-old outside of novice company for the first time, in the valuable Grade Three handicap on February 8.
After claiming an impressive victory in a Listed contest at Haydock on his penultimate start, the Sir Chips Keswick-owned gelding ran a respectable race in defeat back at the track in a Grade Two on his most recent outing.
Snowden said: “The Betfair Hurdle is a £150,000 race and it is definitely worth more than just careful consideration. He has the right sort of profile for the race, and it is then four and half weeks to Cheltenham.
“It would be the only option for him before Cheltenham, and if he doesn’t go there he will go straight to the Supreme. My philosophy is if they are fit – run them.
“He is rated 145 now and would be 4lb well-in if we did go to the Betfair Hurdle. ”
Stablemate Pacify is unlikely to join Thebannerkingrebel in the Betfair Hurdle, with Snowden weighing up Listed options at both Exeter and Huntingdon for the eight-year-old – who is part-owned by the Duchess Of Cornwall.
He said: “He will have entries in early February in the two-mile-one Listed hurdle at Exeter and the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon.
“He is entered in the Betfair Hurdle, but I would say that is the least likely option. He will be entered in both the Supreme and Ballymore at Cheltenham.
“He has run in some decent novice races this season, and not many win five in a season. He was beaten by one in a Grade Two last time, and that was when he was giving a penalty away.”
Kiltealy Briggs will attempt to back up his odds-on victory at Kelso when stepping back up in class in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock on February 15.
Snowden said: “Kiltealy Briggs will go for the Grade Two at Haydock next – then he will either to the EBF Final at Sandown or the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.”