Harry Fry is expecting a “more professional” Chalonnial in the totescoop6 Premier Kelso Novices’ Hurdle.
The five-year-old impressed on his hurdling debut at Bangor in November before being thrown in at the deep end in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January. While he was ultimately no match for the impressive Finian’s Oscar, Chalonnial was not disgraced in finishing third.
“He ran a good race in the Tolworth considering it was only his second start over hurdles,” said the Seaborough-based trainer.
“He was a bit green and babyish and hopefully, with another run under his belt, he’ll be a bit more professional.
“He’s won and run well on slow ground before, so that’s not a worry and stepping up a couple of furlongs should suit him.
“He’s in the Neptune at Cheltenham, but this has always been the plan.”
Chalonnial is reopposed by Tolworth runner-up Capitaine, turned out by Paul Nicholls just a week after he was beaten into fourth when favourite for the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at Kempton.
Mount Mews has also been declared by Malcolm Jefferson. The six-year-old has won a bumper and a novice hurdle at this venue and bolted up on his latest appearance at Doncaster. Jefferson said: “He was good at Doncaster and we’re looking forward to running him.
“I’d prefer it if the ground was a bit better, but it will be the same for them all.
“It’s a good race and we’ll find out where we stand.”