Cliff hurdling plans on ice

Tiger Cliff, winner of the Ebor last summer for owner Henry Ponsonby, has had his hurdling career put on hold.

The five-year-old left Lady Cecil's care to join Alan King for a National Hunt campaign but after a planned break in the first half of the season, the current well-being of King's string has prevented Tiger Cliff from making his hurdling debut.

Connections now feel he would be better off going hurdling next season, rather than having a rushed preparation for the Cheltenham Festival.

Tiger Cliff may instead be aimed at the Marathon Final on Good Friday's All-Weather Championship day.

Ponsonby said: "Alan King feels we should put Tiger Cliff's hurdling debut on hold as realistically we are running out of time to get the necessary experience for him to compete at Cheltenham.

"He has a slightly below-par blood count but should be back to normal in February.

"This change of plan could see him aiming for the 150,000 Good Friday Super Marathon in April.

"There are two qualifying races for him in March."

First Mohican, who also runs in Ponsonby's silks, is on target to make his hurdling debut in the near future.

He told "First Mohican is in good health and is on course to run in two weeks time.

"The plan is for him to run twice in February and then hopefully graduate for a crack at the Supreme Novices' at Cheltenham on Tuesday, March 11."