SCINTILLATING Naas scorer Rule The World is likely to head straight to the Cheltenham Festival in March should connections give a trip to Prestbury Park the green light.
The six-year-old appeared to have plenty on his plate stepping up to Grade Two level for the Slaney Novice Hurdle on Sunday, tackling two horses who had already proven their worth at the highest level in the Willie Mullins-trained Champagne Fever and Dessie Hughes' Minsk.
The former was subsequently found to be suffering from a respiratory tract infection, but there did not appear to be any excuses for Minsk, who was brushed aside by Rule The World in impressive fashion.
As a result of his weekend performance, Rule The World is prominent in ante-post lists for both the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, but trainer Mouse Morris is in no rush to confirm his participation in either race.
Morris said: "It was a very good performance on the day. I know there were excuses for Willie's horse, but we still beat Dessie Hughes' horse 16 lengths and he'd shown some good form.
"I don't think the ground really matters to our horse, but he might be a bit better on better ground.
"We haven't made any definite plans. I'll talk to the owners (Gigginstown House Stud) and we'll see where we are in a couple of weeks.
"I wouldn't say at this stage he'll definitely go to Cheltenham, but if he does he'll be going straight there.
"He'll probably be entered for the two-and-a-half-mile race (Neptune) and the three-miler (Albert Bartlett), so we'll see. Two and a half miles might be as far as he'd want to go round Cheltenham at the moment.
"He is still quite an immature horse and if we decide not to go to Cheltenham, there is always Fairyhouse and Punchestown at home."