LAST INSTALMENT'S Thurles return behind Texas Jack was one of the highlights of the week. Philip Fenton yesterday reported him "a bit tired" after his first run for two years, but added: "He is sound and that's the main thing."
With the bounce factor already a concern, Fenton could yet decide that the Hennessy Gold Cup on February 9 will come too soon if he takes time to recover, as he did wilt into third after racing keenly.
The chances of him having a hand in the Cheltenham Gold Cup might well be improved were he to skip Leopardstown, as three runs in eight weeks after two years off would hardly be ideal.
Besides, First Lieutenant is a ready fit for the Hennessy, but doesn't have the reserves to triumph over further come Cheltenham.
If Last Instalment were to go straight to the Festival without another race, such is his class that you couldn't say he wouldn't figure prominently. He was cut to as low as 25/1 for Cheltenham glory on Thursday, a fair reaction all told. However, he is still as big as 50/1 in places, and there are far worse 50/1 each-way prospects.