No rush with Coney Island
Trainer Eddie Harty will take his time before firming up plans for potential Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Coney Island.
The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old returned from a year on the sidelines to win a Graduation Chase at Ascot just before Christmas.
It was an impressive success in the end under Barry Geraghty, despite Coney Island looking to be in some trouble mid-race.
The front-running Adrien Du Pont, trained by Paul Nicholls, appeared to have him under pressure but the leader tired and Coney Island made a decisive and visually impressive move to put the race in safe keeping very quickly when asked.
Having decided not to go for the Grade One Leopardstown Christmas Chase, Harty was delighted with how things worked out for Coney Island, now 667.00 to win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.
"He's come back in good form and we're very happy with him," said the trainer.
"He was a bit ring-rusty early on and because they went so quick in front he didn't have an easy time of it.
"The reality is they probably went a bit too hard in front, but once our horse got into a rhythm he picked up well and did it well.
"We're happy we decided to go there instead of running in the Grade One in Leopardstown. It was the right thing to do for the horse."
Harty will consider options in both England and Ireland, likely in February, for Coney Island with one more run the most likely scenario before Cheltenham, but he's in no rush to make a plan.
"It was his first run in a year the other day so we won't be rushing him back. We'll just wait until he's fresh and well again and go from there," he added.
Sizing John is 667.00 to defend his Gold Cup crown following a poor show at Leopardstown over Christmas, while King George winner Might Bite is now 5.00 for Blue Ribband success.
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