Hidden Cyclone will be given time to get over an unfortunate experience that spoilt his chance in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
Shark Hanlon revealed that his smart chaser became worked up after slipping when going out to parade in front of the stands before the Christmas feature.
After showing up well in the early stages and leading the field for a while from the sixth fence, Hidden Cyclone had spent all his energy before the business end of the Grade One over three miles and trailed home last of the eight finishers behind Tidal Bay.
Hanlon reports the horse to be none the worse and has decided to put a line through that race.
“He came out of the ring perfect but when they went out for the parade in front of the stands he just slipped, and from then on Andrew (McNamara, jockey) wasn’t happy,” said the County Carlow trainer.
“He said the horse was just too hyper the whole way. He meant to jump out about fourth or fifth, but he jumped out third and after the first he was in front and he couldn’t do anything about it.
“It is a run we can just write off. He just wasn’t used to the parade and the big day.
“He’s in great form, but we don’t know what we are going to do with him yet.
“There are plenty of graded races and we’ll enter him in one and then make up our minds where we are going to go, whether we go for the Cheltenham Gold Cup or the Ryanair or whatever.”
Leader set for Thurles trip
Western Leader is being lined up for a trip to Thurles later this month after securing his first victory in the best part of three years at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day.
After breaking down badly when second in a Grade One novice hurdle at Aintree in the spring of 2010, some vets advised Shark Hanlon the gelding should be put down.
However, Western Leader’s life was saved and although he was initially retired from racing, he made a shock return last winter and showed he retained plenty of enthusiasm with a couple of notable performances over hurdles before making an emotional winning debut over fences earlier this week.
Hanlon said: “He’s come out of the race super, there’s not a bother on him.
“We were delighted with how he performed on the day. They thought he was a goner after Aintree and to come back and win a race is brilliant.
“Like Barry (Connell, owner) said to me after the race, if he doesn’t win again, it doesn’t matter. We’ve done what we wanted to do with him.
“We’ve had a lot of texts and e-mails about him the last couple of days and people really appreciate the horse, which is great.
“He’s in great form and I think he’ll improve a good bit for the run.
“The plan now is to go for a winner’s race in Thurles on January 17.
“The problem for a horse like him is there are so few opportunities in Ireland. There is the race in Thurles and that is the only winner’s race here for three months.”
Hanlon has potential Festival star
Shark Hanlon believes Star Neuville is a horse for the Cheltenham Festival after he shaped well behind Lord Windermere at Leopardstown last week.
The Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase is a possible target for the seven-year-old.
“We were happy with Star Neuville over Christmas,” said County Carlow trainer Hanlon.
“He was third, we made too much use of him, but I’d say he’s a big hope for me at Cheltenham come March.
“He’ll go for something like the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase. He’ll go for one of those races there. We were delighted with him.”
Bolster to bid for redemption
David Bridgwater is keeping his fingers crossed The Giant Bolster can get his season back on track in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham at the end of the month.
Runner-up in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and a fine third on his return to action in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, the eight-year-old was considered a major challenger for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
However, a couple of early jumping errors under Tony McCoy set the tone for a disappointing display and he was eventually pulled up.
Bridgwater reports his pride and joy to be none the worse and the trainer is keen to put a line through his below-par performance.
He said: “He’s grand, there’s not a bother on him. It was just one of those days at Kempton, they all do it, and a number of things went wrong.
“The original plan was to go to the Peterborough Chase, but that was off and we ended up at Kempton and things didn’t work out.
“All is good now, I’m sure he’ll be fine and we’ll head back to Cheltenham for the Argento (January 26).
“I think everyone would like a bit better ground than what we have at the moment.”
The Giant Bolster is widely available at 25-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Martin waits on Warrior target
Tony Martin has yet to make any firm plans for Bog Warrior following his stylish victory at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve.
After falling on his seasonal return at Down Royal, the Grade One-winning chaser was switched back to hurdles at Fairyhouse at the start of December and turned in an impressive display.
Stepped up in class for his final start of 2012, the nine-year-old followed up with a comprehensive defeat of top-class hurdler Solwhit, earning him quotes for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Martin, however, has not yet decided whether his charge will stay over the smaller obstacles or switch back to jumping fences.
“There are no plans for him at the moment. I haven’t had chance to speak to the boys (owners Gigginstown House Stud) about which way we’ll go with him,” said the trainer.
“He’s come out of the race the other day in good form and did it well, but we’ve not decided whether we’ll stick over hurdles with him or go back over fences.”