Notlongtillmay set Kempton target for January

Silviniaco Conti Chase on the agenda for Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up.

The Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton is next on the agenda for Laura Morgan’s Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Notlongtillmay.

The seven-year-old won his first three starts over fences last season before outrunning odds of 40-1 when second to Stage Star in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Having made a promising return when fourth at Prestbury Park in October, Notlongtillmay was well fancied for one of the season’s feature handicaps earlier this month – and while he was again no match for the impressive Stage Star, the Malinas gelding was comfortably best of the rest.

Morgan considered sending her stable star back to Cheltenham for next month’s December Gold Cup, but will instead keep her powder dry for the new year.

“He seems to have come out of the race well. He bumped into one a bit better than him, but he’s run really well and we’re all delighted to have a horse to take us to these big days,” she said.

“I entered him for the December race and then I pulled him out because I just thought I’d be too tempted to run him.

“He had a hard enough race, I felt, at Cheltenham, so I thought we’d maybe wait and go to Kempton for the Silviniaco Conti Chase on January 13.

“Whether we step him up in trip after Kempton, I’m a bit undecided on that. The Ryanair Chase, I would say, would be the plan.

“It’s so hard to find horses like this, even for the bigger trainers. It’s great for a small yard like ours to have a horse to go to the big days and be competitive as well.”

Morgan also saddled Whistleinthedark to finish eighth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

A progressive chaser last term, the eight-year-old is now being readied for a step up in trip.

Morgan added: “I thought he ran a lovely race, it was obviously his first run back and I don’t think he quite went on the track.

“I think we’ll probably keep him to a flat, galloping track in the future, but he ran well, especially after making a howler of a mistake four out – I don’t know how Kevin (Brogan) stayed on him, to be honest.

“I think he’ll go to Doncaster on December 16 for a 0-150 handicap chase over three miles. Hopefully he’ll go well, as I think he should be better over the longer trip.”

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