sport

At Fishers Cross off to Ireland

At Fishers Cross will head to Ireland next week for tests as connections aim to get to the bottom of his disappointing start to the season.

The Rebecca Curtis-trained and JP McManus-owned six-year-old looked ready to challenge for major staying honours after ending his novice campaign with Grade One victories at Cheltenham and Aintree, but he has not looked the same horse in two starts this term.

A bad mistake ruined his chance on his comeback run in the Long Distance Hurdle a Newbury and his jumping was again poor before he finally unseated Tony McCoy at the final flight when well held in the Long Walk at Ascot last weekend.

Curtis told Channel 4 Racing's The Morning Line: "It's just physical problems with him, that's the trouble. He had them last year but I think we were able to manage them a bit better than we have this year.

"Thankfully, with his connections he is going to be seeing the best vets now and is going over to Ireland to be checked over at the beginning of next week.

"Hopefully, if we can get to the bottom of the problems, the ability is still there. I don't think we've seen the horse he is this year.

"It's well known he's always had a bit of arthritis in his hocks, which then causes a few back problems. I think the hocks are absolutely perfect now, but there is obviously a bit of a problem with his back.

"He did see a chiropractor, who thought there might have been a problem with a rib slightly out, which has been fixed now. Maybe that will help as well.

"If we can get him right in the next few weeks, I'm not ruling him out him running in the Cleeve Hurdle at the end of next month."