Aintree Hurdle aim for Rashaan

Trainer Colin Kidd is targeting a tilt at the Aintree Hurdle with Rashaan following his fine effort in defeat at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Rashaan will head to Aintree rather than Cheltenham

A surprise winner of the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal in November when seeing off top-class mare Apple's Jade, the five-year-old was then given a winter break before making a successful reappearance on the all-weather at Dundalk.

He returned to the jumping game in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle and came home well to finish third, leading his trainer to believe a step up to two and a half miles at Aintree will suit him down to the ground.

Kidd said: "I was delighted with him and I'd say it was one of his best runs to date. The two in front got away from him on the run to the second-last, but he was gaining on them at the line.

"For a long time I've thought we wouldn't see the best of him until he ran over two and a half on good ground and his run on Saturday would back that up.

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"The Aintree Hurdle is the race we've got on our minds."

Rashaan was in the news last month after being given a mark of 154 for the Betfair Hurdle, over a stone higher than his Irish rating of 139, leading to some controversy.

Kidd unsurprisingly decided against taking up that engagement at Newbury and he has no intention of sending his stable star for a handicap assignment at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

"He's not entered in anything in Cheltenham and there's no point entering him in any handicaps," said the trainer.

"I'd say he'll go up in Ireland for his run on Saturday, but I'm not too worried as the hurly-burly of big handicaps isn't really for him anyway.

"We have seven weeks until Aintree, so I'll give him two weeks off now and then start building him back up. He won't run before Aintree.

"He's getting stronger the whole time. That ground on Saturday wouldn't be ideal for him, but he handled it a lot better than he would have done this time last year."

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