Latest Exhibition will stick to the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, even if the ground rides heavy.
Paul Nolan’s seven-year-old, a Grade One winner over two miles and six furlongs at the Dublin Racing Festival, is one of the favourites for the three-mile race.
Nolan has the option of running over two miles and five furlongs in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, with the ground likely to be soft, but feels the extra distance will be the making of his charge.
“I don’t know if he does handle proper heavy ground,” said the County Wexford trainer.
“There’s no doubt if he under-performed it might be an excuse, but I don’t think we’d switch to the Ballymore in any case.
“Looking at the way he races, I think three miles will be the making of him. It’s not that we are trying to avoid anyone – we want to run him over the trip we think he’ll be best at.”
Latest Exhibition’s stamina has appeared to be a strength so far.
Nolan added: “He’s run over two, two and a half miles and two-six – and another step up wouldn’t inconvenience him. It would be a plus, rather than a minus.
“At Leopardstown it looked like he was going to win by half a length, but he went on and won by two lengths.
“So he put distance between himself and the others – and over three miles it would have been even further.
“I’d prefer to be taking a chance on softer ground than quicker ground, put it that way.”
Stablemate Discorama will be back to run at his third Festival, having been placed in the Martin Pipe and the National Hunt Chase previously.
Nolan had hoped to get him qualified for the Pertemps Final over hurdles – but bad weather scuppered that plan, so it will be the Ultima Handicap Chase instead.
“The plan now is to go for the Ultima,” he said.
“We’ll take him to a racecourse soon and have a pop over some fences.”