Triumph Hurdle favourite Landofhopeandglory on course for Fairyhouse
Joseph O'Brien has high hopes Landofhopeandglory can land the JCB Triumph Hurdle in March so the trainer can celebrate the victory in his own name.
Ivanovich Gorbatov won the juvenile championship at last season's Cheltenham Festival, but as O'Brien had not yet completed his training modules the horse ran under his father Aidan's name.
Now a fully-fledged trainer in his own right and with a Group One win on the Flat to his name, he has a growing stable of former classy performers from the level with which to target the big winter prizes.
Landofhopeandglory, second in the Curragh Cup in June, has won his first two starts over hurdles impressively.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure, but he may go for the Grade Three in Fairyhouse (Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle, December 4), he's come out of the race well from Saturday," said O'Brien.
"All being well we hope he will be a Triumph Hurdle horse, but a lot can happen between now and then."
Things have not quite gone to plan for Ivanovich Gorbatov since his big win but he did show more promise when third to Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana Hurdle on Sunday.
"I was expecting him to tire on his first run at Naas and I was happy with his run yesterday. Davy (Russell) felt he could have been second if he'd had another furlong," said O'Brien.
"The Hatton's Grace is an option and he will pitch up in all the big ones."
O'Brien, who was speaking at the launch of Leopardstown's Christmas Festival, reflected on his recent switch from multiple Group One-winning rider to the training ranks.
He said: "I probably prefer training to riding, and it is something I always wanted to do. Starting training happened a bit quicker than I expected, but I have been born into the environment, and it is a way of life as much as anything else.
"When you are riding you only really get on the horse in the race and a lot of it is instinctive. A trainer can ruin any horse, but you do get a greater kick out of it.
"I never really set targets when I was riding, and it is the same as a trainer - you just do the best you can with each horse.
"My weight went up to 11st, but it is coming back slowly now. I don't really ride out any more, maybe the odd Sunday. We have about 30 horses riding out in each lot and it's not really possible to ride out and still see what's going on."
O'Brien said another high-profile Flat recruit, Housesofparliament, "may start" over hurdles at Christmas.
He added: " Exactoris is a nice horse who has won his bumpers and a hurdle, and he could run at Christmas in a novice hurdle."
O'Brien will have plenty of horses to run in bumpers in the coming months and said: "I don't really like picking out ones in particular, but a nice one is Aeglos. He is a very nice bumper horse."
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Source: At The Races