Doyle to resist temptation of Cheltenham for Mallowney
Cheltenham might be preoccupying most racing fans' minds, but Thurles handler Tim Doyle remains content to wait for Fairyhouse and Punchestown with Mallowney despite his stable star's massively convincing triumph at Naas on Sunday.
A free-going sort that relishes plenty of cut in the ground, Mallowney has never run outside of Ireland, yet the seven-time winner has already amassed €210,000 worth of prize money for his ownership syndicate.
His two latest emphatic triumphs under Davy Russell at Fairyhouse and Naas account for €91,360 of that, and the shrewd Doyle is eschewing the bright lights of Prestbury Park to target the valuable Normans Grove Chase back at Fairyhouse over Easter before tackling the two-mile Grade One at the Punchestown Festival.
"We're happy with the route we're going," Doyle confirmed of his nine-year-old. "I just felt temperament-wise earlier in his career he wouldn't have been the right horse to take to Cheltenham.
"He's certainly much improved this season and I think that's down to him being much more relaxed. He's much better, but I still think at this stage Cheltenham wouldn't be any help to him and there is a grand schedule at home we can stick to.
"The owner is happy to go down that route and Davy thinks that's the way we should go, so it's my job now just to keep him right and get him to those two races in the best possible shape."
English trainer Charlie Longsdon is thinking along similar lines for Sunday's stylish National Spirit Hurdle winner Kilcooley. The Stowaway six-year-old was second in a Dromahane point-to-point in 2013 before changing hands for £40,000 at Brightwells April sale in Cheltenham, and he has now won a bumper and four hurdle races following his Grade Two victory under Noel Fehily at Fontwell.
"We will probably miss Cheltenham," Longsdon said of Kilcooley on his website. "The two obvious targets now are probably Aintree or Punchestown. The other option could be Fairyhouse on Easter Monday (April 6).
"It is amazing the powers of social media, because I was only made aware of the Grade Two Ballybin Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles by Fairyhouse when people were asking me where we were heading next.
"If the ground came up soft this year at Fairyhouse, it could well be a good option."