The Mouse Morris-trained Alpha Des Obeaux
©Healy Racing Photos
Alpha Des Obeaux could head straight for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival following his disappointing run at Leopardstown last month.
Runner-up to Thistlecrack in last season's World Hurdle at Prestbury Park, the seven-year-old was well beaten on his chasing debut at Tipperary, but bounced back to win at Thurles before landing a Grade Three prize at Cork in November.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding was a creditable third behind Coney Island in the Grade One Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse on his next start and many fancied him to at least close the gap when the pair met once more over three miles in Leopardstown's Neville Hotels Novice Chase.
However, while Coney Island was narrowly beaten by Our Duke, Alpha Des Obeaux was pulled up and it later emerged he had burst blood vessels.
Trainer Mouse Morris said: "H e's fine and seems none the worse, thankfully. He's never done it before, so we're hoping it's a one-off.
"It's a shame as he was going well at home going into the race - he was flying - and on form he'd have been bang there, but that's racing.
"We have the option of going to Naas or Leopardstown, or we could go straight to Cheltenham. We'll talk to the owners and see which way they want to go.
"He'll probably have an entry in the two-and-a-half (JLT Novices' Chase), but the RSA is his race, I'd say."