County date for Minstrel
Court Minstrel could run in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival if he goes to the big meeting in March.
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The Evan Williams-trained six-year-old threatened to get involved at the finish in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday before the testing ground took its toll up the hill and he was just run out of third place.
Williams was pleased with his performance, however, and feels Court Minstrel would have finished much closer on better ground.
"I've looked at the tape again and he ran with credit. He came to win the race, but he just didn't pick up in the ground," said the Llancarfan handler.
"He looked like playing a part at one stage, which is what we needed to see - we didn't want him beaten half a mile out.
"If he goes to Cheltenham he won't run before then, he's had his three runs over hurdles now. It will be interesting to see what the ground is like over the next few weeks, though.
"I think he'll be better suited to handicaps, just the way they are run with a fast pace. It might just be a year too soon for him to run him in a handicap at the Festival this year but if he did go to Cheltenham it could be for something like the County Hurdle rather than a novice. One day I think he's got a big handicap in him."