Patrick Neville is considering options at Down Royal and Newbury for stable star The Real Whacker’s seasonal reappearance.
The seven-year-old enjoyed an excellent novice campaign over fences last term, winning each of his three starts at Cheltenham including a popular Festival success in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
North Yorkshire-based Neville is confident his pride and joy has returned from a summer break better than ever and is looking forward to seeing him return to competitive action in the autumn.
“He’s done really well over the summer. He came back in around mid-July and he’s back cantering away now and is in great form,” he said.
“He looks well and has developed into a nice horse over the summer. He’s only really a horse now to be honest. He was always lightly-framed but he’s filled into his frame now and is looking fierce well.
“I’ve had Sam Twiston-Davies ringing me up to see how he is and he is looking forward to riding him for the season, all going well.”
Neville is planning to give The Real Whacker just two runs before a return to the Cotswolds in March for a tilt at Cheltenham Gold Cup glory.
He added: “There’s Coral Gold Cup at Newbury (December 2) or Down Royal on early November is another option. There’s a second-season novice chase there that we’ll have a look at.
“You’ve got the King George at Christmas and Cheltenham in January, so we’ll see. We’d be thinking two runs and then the Gold Cup – that’s the plan.”