MOUNT Benbulben will head straight to Kempton for the William Hill King George VI Chase on St Stephen's Day.
The Grade One-winning novice looked certain to play a hand in the finish of the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on his only run to date this season, but unseated Danny Mullins at the fourth-last.
Trainer Gordon Elliott and owner Barry Connell had discussed trying to get another run into him in a race like the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown but have decided to instead send him to England for the Christmas highlight.
"He'll go straight to the King George now, there's nothing for him," said Connell.
"We could have run him in the John Durkan but that's only two and a half miles and would have been too short.
"He has at least had the benefit of a run and schooled a week after Down Royal and jumped perfect. We'll take him for a racecourse gallop a week or two before Christmas and hopefully that will put him spot on.
"I think what will help him at Kempton is the fact that there is a running rail the whole way round as he does tend to lug to his right.
"He made a very similar mistake in the Powers Gold Cup to his one at Down Royal and came back to win the Grade One at Punchestown.
"We think the King George is the right race. Cue Card is a worthy favourite after Haydock and looking at his pedigree there should never have really been a doubt about his stamina. He certainly looks the one to beat."