MOUSE MORRIS is leaning towards the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby with First Lieutenant this weekend, rather than letting him line up in Grade One company at Down Royal.
The seven-year-old beat subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival and went close to following up last season in the RSA Chase, when he was a good second to Bobs Worth.
He made a satisfactory return to action when fourth behind Sizing Europe at Gowran in a Grade Two and he has the option of tackling him again in the JNwine.com Champion Chase this weekend, but Morris is favouring a trip to West Yorkshire.
Morris has tasted success at the Charlie Hall meeting in the past with Boss Doyle, who won the West Yorkshire Hurdle on the same card in 2000 and 2001.
"I'd say if you were to ask me now where I think he'll be running it will be Wetherby," said Morris.
"Decent ground will be a factor, although it's not bad at Down Royal.
"His first run will have brought him on a good deal, I'd expect him to strip a lot fitter for that.
"It was his jumping more than anything that caught him out, Davy (Russell) just said he was a bit rusty, and the trip would have been sharp enough for him but he was staying on again at the finish.
"Three miles on good ground would appear to be his optimum so I'd expect him to run well."
Time For Rupert also has a couple of options with Ascot the other possibility for Paul Webber's Gold Cup fifth.
"Time For Rupert has been entered in the Charlie Hall Chase and also at Ascot (United House Gold Cup), so I think we will need to take a little bit of time to look at the entries and see what's what," said Webber.
"I think Wetherby would be the preference, having run well around there before, but it will be a day or two before we really know. We certainly intend to run him this weekend and he seems in very good form.
"He has done very well over the summer - he is a little bit stronger and heavier - and he has done plenty of work so we are looking forward to the weekend.
"Last year was very much about getting his confidence back having bled in the RSA Chase the year before and I think we did that.
"There aren't many bigger races than the Charlie Hall Chase as it's a Grade Two worth £100,000. The Hennessy is not worth much more and obviously we will consider that, but let's see what happens on Saturday."