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Sherwood to mull over his Many plans

Many Clouds could take in a prep race in the new year ahead of a crack at the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup following his brave effort to lift the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood, who reports the seven-year-old (pictured)to have taken his exertions much better than expected, is optimistic Many Clouds can make the necessary improvement to become a real Gold Cup contender in March.

"He's absolutely A1 this morning which has surprised me. I thought he'd be lying down for 48 hours. He's eaten up and went out in the paddock very bright which is a huge positive," Sherwood told At The Races.

"Handicaps are out of the question now. I'd have thought the handicapper will put him up something like 6lb to 10lb. He's got to go for these conditions races, so the Gold Cup does come into the equation.

"I've got to speak Mick Meagher, who is (owner) Mr (Trevor) Hemmings' racing manager, and Mr Hemmings, but I'd have thought one conditions race in January time and then the Gold Cup if they want to have a crack at something like that. That's my gut feeling.

"Subject to him showing me the right signs and the right vibes, he will race again this season with hopefully having a crack at the Gold Cup.

"He has got to improve more again to warrant a place in the Gold Cup, but who's to say he won't, and the dream is still alive.

"I was 99 per cent certain he'd get the trip yesterday."