Matthew Smith is planning a drop in class for Drinmore Novice Chase runner-up Ronald Pump with a Grade 3 event at Naas next month earmarked for his next outing.
The six-year-old gelding progressed well over hurdles last season winning four times including a valuable three-mile handicap at the Fairyhouse Easter meeting.
The son of Schiaparelli made an impressive start over fences when reappearing at the same venue last month which earned a crack against Fakir d’Oudairies and Samcro in the Drinmore.
However, his jumping let him down a bit in that Grade 1 event and he could only keep on from well off the pace to finish 22 lengths off the impressive winner.
“I took him out of the Grade 1 at Christmas in Leopardstown and Limerick. There is a Grade 3 at Naas next month over three miles and I think we will aim him at that,” said the Kilmessan trainer.
“I wasn’t one hundred per cent happy with his jumping the last day. His jumping in his beginners’ chase was class and then we popped him over a fence a few days before Fairyhouse and he was very careful at it.
“He jumped the first very careful in the Drinmore and then he made the mistake, and Robbie (Power) said to me afterwards the last thing you want to do is go to Leopardstown and get a fall or a fright and mess up the whole season. So I’ve taken his advice on that and the race in Naas will probably be the aim and we’ll work from there.
“I’ve also entered him in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown just as an option over hurdles. He’ll do another bit of work on Monday or Tuesday and we’ll see but he’d be carrying plenty of weight in it.”
Smith will be represented at Leopardstown by The Church Gate who will bid to land the Irish Daily Star Handicap Hurdle for a second successive year on Saturday.
Plans for Lord Schnitzel are a bit up in the air after Thurles was cancelled on Saturday due to fog.
The Getaway gelding has taken well to fences with placed efforts this season behind both Faugheen and Carefully Selected, and he still holds a Grade 1 entry at Leopardstown.