Stephens reveals Modus operandi

Robert Stephens has confirmed exciting youngster Modus will head straight for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March.

The four-year-old son of Motivator looked the part when making a winning debut at Exeter in October, and enhanced his reputation with a brilliant 13-length victory in the Listed bumper at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.

He will aim to complete a hat-trick at the Festival carrying the colours of owner John Deer, who enjoyed such a brilliant summer last year with multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem.

Stephens said: "The horse seems to come out of the Cheltenham race very well. He's very relaxed, so we're very happy with him.

"The Champion Bumper is definitely the aim and I wouldn't have thought he'd have another run between now and then.

"He's only a four-year-old and has just had the two runs, so you would like to think there is improvement in him.

"There will have to be, as the Champion Bumper will be another big step up again.

"It was good to soft when he won at Exeter and then very soft at Cheltenham, but I don't think better ground would be a problem.

"He's Tom O'Brien's ride. He rides the horse very well and he rides all my jumpers when he's available."