Kayley Woollacott is undecided on whether to target Lalor at the Cheltenham Festival or wait for the Grand National meeting at Aintree.
Beaten just a short head into third place at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, the eight-year-old returned to Prestbury Park on Saturday to pick up minor honours in another fiercely-competitive handicap chase, this time beaten three-quarters of a length.
The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate is the obvious Festival target for Lalor, but Woollacott is keen to step her stable star up in distance at some stage and will consider sidestepping the showpiece meeting in March in favour of waiting for Aintree.
Woollacott said: “We were delighted with how he ran. It’s the first time in a long time that he’s put two really good runs together, without having had a long break in between.
“He has been a bit in-and-out in the past, but it looks like he’s grown up a bit and all in all we’re very pleased with him.
“I’ve told the owner we’ll need to have a discussion about where we’re going to go next with him. We’ll keep it very open and try to find a race where he can get his head in front, because I think he deserves to.”
Lalor has previously won a Grade Two bumper and a Grade One novice hurdle at Aintree in April.
“He’s definitely a better horse on better ground and I also think he’s a better horse with a bit of sun on his back, funnily enough. He really comes to himself in the spring,” Woollacott continued.
“On his last couple of runs it looks like he will stay further. Whether we go three miles this season or next season, we’ll see.
“You’ve obviously got the Plate at the Festival, or should we wait and run him over three miles at Aintree? We know he loves Aintree as he’s won there twice and on both occasions he’s really stepped up his game to win.
“Obviously he runs very well at Cheltenham, but a flat left-handed track like Aintree suits him down to the ground, so we could wait for that and hope the ground is right.
“We’ll consider all the options and then make a decision.”