High hopes for Carningli
Rebecca Curtis believes Carningli could develop into a contender for this season's Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
A winner on his only previous start at Ffos Las in the spring, the four-year-old gave weight to the majority of his rivals and beat them all comfortably in the hands of champion jockey Tony McCoy at Prestbury Park last weekend.
Curtis is looking forward to testing her youngster at a higher level next time, with a return to Cheltenham in March very much in her thoughts.
"We always thought he was very good. Although he won his bumper at Ffos Las last season, he was still quite weak and he has strengthened up a lot during the summer," said the trainer.
"We half expected him to run very well the other day and it was great to see him go and do it. He was going away again up the hill. He's only a four-year-old and had his 7lb penalty, so it was a good performance.
"We could go hurdling, but I think we'll give him another year to strengthen up and go down the bumper route for now. I think he's good enough.
"He'll probably go for a Listed bumper next, either back at Cheltenham at the Paddy Power meeting or maybe at the Hennessy meeting at Newbury.
"If all went well there, you'd like to think he could end up back at Cheltenham in March."
Another Curtis inmate who performed well at last week's 'Showcase' meeting was Cloud Brook.
The Bangor bumper winner was set a difficult assignment for his hurdling debut, but was far from disgraced in finishing fifth and Curtis feels he too could end up at the Festival in the spring.
Curtis said: "I think Cloud Brook could be very good.
"We were asking a lot of him to run him over hurdles first time at Cheltenham against more experienced horses and I hoped the ground would be a bit softer than it was.
"He was a bit big at some of his hurdles early on, but Noel (Fehily) was very happy with him and said if we took on the same horses again we'd beat them.
"I'll probably take him to the smaller tracks for now and maybe then he could go to Cheltenham trials day for the Neptune (Investment Management Novices' Hurdle) race there.
"If he was good enough, then maybe he could end up in either the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett at the Festival. I do like him a lot."