Nicky Henderson is eager to give enthusiastic hurdler Jonbon more experience ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, but is struggling to find a suitable race for obstacle favorite Sky Bet Supreme Novizis.
The newly born JP McManus star captured an emphatic Grade Two success at Ascot under Aidan Coleman last month to reach second out of two over hurdles.
Having previously shown a tendency to heat up and run too much, Jonbon had shown more maturity and a lot of athletic ability on his second hurdle start, with Coleman doing most of the run and hitting the straight.
Frank Berry, McManus’ Head of Racing, said: “Everything is very good with Jonbon. He’s great with all racing, but Nicky is struggling to find a fledgling obstacle over two miles to get him racing. That’s a bit ‘a problem by the minute.
“I’d say the first two-mile novice on the way will have a run.
“We hope that, by the end of the month or something, Nicky will find a race for him, but there is a bit of difficulty in finding one.”
Berry revealed that a decision has not yet been made as to which race the Henderson-trained champion will compete at the Cheltenham Festival.
Champ made it through a 274-day hiatus to land the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month – his first run since being pulled up in the Gold Cup, and he looked better than ever.
Berry said: “Champ has a Gold Cup entry and he will have a Stayers’ Hurdle entry and I would say we will drop it to Nicky Henderson closer to the moment and see what he wants to do.
“We’ll see how he is in the meantime, he’s in good shape and has come out very well from his race and Nicky is happy with him.
“He’s a great horse and it was good to see him live up to his name!”
The French-trained Easysland is still in contention for Glenfarclas Chase, despite not having been seen since finishing second at Tiger Roll in last season’s renewal.
Coached by David Cottin, Easysland had previously slammed the 17-length Tiger Roll in the 2020 edition and remains a joint favorite 4-1 with that rival for the three-quarter mile event on March 16.
“Easysland has had a few setbacks, but hopefully it’s getting there,” Berry said.
“There was nothing substantial, just minor problems, but it just slowed down the whole work with him. Let’s hope he gets back to singing now.
“You’d like to think he’s going back to Cheltenham for cross-country running and hopefully he’ll get there. We’ll have to see what happens next.
“We’ll see if he has an early race, but nothing has been decided yet.”