Tony McCoy was impressed with Starluck’s victory at Huntingdon yesterday but trainer Alan Fleming’s charge may not now contest the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival as had been previously planned.
McCoy took over from Timmy Murphy in the saddle with the latter due to ride ante-post Arkle fancy Ghizao next month.
Starluck, the 4-9 favourite, was sent chasing late in the season after just coming up short against the very best over hurdles.
Fleming had touted a tilt at the Arkle if all went to plan in the Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Novices Chase and while that went without a hiccup, Aintree was instead mooted as a possibility.
Starluck is now a general 12-1 chance for the Arkle.
“I'm pleased enough with that. He's very brave and even though there's no doubt he lacks a bit of size, he's not frightened and has loads of bottle,” said McCoy.
“At times you can just feel the little horse finds it a bit tough, but for a small horse, he has plenty of courage. He certainly has the engine for an Arkle.
“I said to Alan that I'm not sure it would be fair on him to go straight to the Arkle and we've got to do what's right for the horse.”
Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori gave Khawlah a magnificent ride to outfox hot favourite Mahbooba and land the UAE Oaks under the floodlights at Meydan last night.