Hanlon whipping up a Cyclone
John 'Shark' Hanlon is looking forward to Hidden Cyclone taking on the best two-milers around in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
The County Carlow trainer's stable star has a date with Britain's finest, headed by Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets on March 11 after landing his first success in 17 months in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
Hidden Cyclone had run some creditable races in between those two successes, finishing second in four Grade Ones, including the Ryanair Chase at last year's Festival.
He was given an entry in this year's two-mile five feature, but Hanlon feels Hidden Cyclone has earned his chance at the two-mile title.
"He did what we know he can do. What was more important was that he settled. We'd been trying that at home for the past month and it worked," he said.
"He came out of the race 100%. Even on Sunday when I went down to the vet's box he was on his toes. The race didn't take anything out of him.
"His jumping was very good and the Queen Mother now looks the job.
"There's doubts about a couple of the other ones. Sire De Grugy has to come back this week and prove it, then there's Sprinter Sacre after his problems and Dodging Bullets as well.
"We have to go for the Queen Mother at this stage.
"He's been knocking on the door of a Grade One. I know he hadn't won for a while before Sunday but he had been placed in a lot of graded races and picked up a lot of money - more than you would get for winning ordinary races.
"The big day is only five weeks away. He'll have a nice break between now and then and please god he stays in the one piece."