Aston Rowant trainer Alan Hill is set to give Harbour Court his prep run for the Cheltenham Festival in a point-to-point this weekend.
Hill had hoped a hunters’ chase at Kelso last Thursday would serve the purpose ahead of a crack at the CGA Foxhunters’ Chase on Friday, March 14.
But after a five-and-a-half hour trip, the journey ended in frustration when the eight-year-old was brought down at the first fence.
Hill gave Harbour Court an entry at Doncaster today, but has decided instead to wait for the rearranged Cambridge University Draghounds meeting at Cottenham on Saturday.
He said: “A point-to-point this weekend will not be so informative, but it will give us vital match practice, so we are looking forward to this weekend, but wishing we did not have to do it.”
Reflecting on the 680-mile round trip, which took him to Scotland for the first time, Hill said: “It was no-one’s fault. The horse has come back totally unscathed and he has schooled and jumped brilliantly.
“What is frustrating is that we have not learnt anything, whether we have improved and how our fitness is.”
Hill admitted to being concerned that the gap between his star’s reappearance and the Festival was reducing.
He added: “It is three weeks away and we always said that the ideal window would have been four and a half to six weeks.
“Kelso came into that bracket, but this is three weeks.
“I am hoping that being a point-to-point and that the ground is hopefully nicer, it won’t take too much out of him, and we can have him in good order.”