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Cheltenham - Racing: Daly pondering Hillcrest options

Henry Daly is undecided about whether to run Hillcrest at the Cheltenham Festival, with Aintree the back-up plan should he need more time to recover from his latest win.

That victory came on gruelling ground at Haydock last month, with Hillcrest 11/2 for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle on Friday week if he does run at Cheltenham.

Haydock win came at a cost

The seven-year-old was making it four wins from five over hurdles when slamming Crystal Glory by eight lengths in the Grade 2 Prestige Hurdle over three miles on heavy ground that day.

The son of Stowaway was getting the wheels back on his Cheltenham bandwagon that day after previously unseating at just the third hurdle at Cheltenham in January.

Prior to that, Hillcrest had been on an unbroken run of success which kicked off at Aintree in November before following up at Wetherby and then in a Listed 2m41/2f contest at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

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If Daly thinks Hillcrest - who also holds an entry in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham - needs more time between races he could be well wait until Aintree in April or be put by for a novice chasing career next season.

Daly still yet to decide

The trainer said: "I'm very undecided on Hillcrest. It's very much how he is in the next few days. It's only ten days since we ran in the Prestige, that's really the issue.

"I'm very conscious of the fact that he really isn't about hurdling. He's about next season, novice chasing. I'm really about planning that bit rather than this bit.

"He could go to Aintree and run in the Sefton. I'm trying to keep all our options open."

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