Alderwood set for Annual
Tom Mullins hopes Alderwood can develop into a Grand Annual candidate following his highly-creditable performance at Punchestown on Sunday.
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The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old enjoyed a fantastic end to last season, winning the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival before claiming further major prizes at the big spring meetings at Fairyhouse and Punchestown.
He has made a fine start to his career over the larger obstacles, with a couple of good runs in defeat followed by a first chasing win at Navan.
He raised his game again to finish second on his handicap debut in Sunday's Dan Moore Memorial Chase and now heads the market for the two mile handicap chase back at Cheltenham next month.
Mullins said: "I was really pleased with him. I thought he ran a cracker considering it was his first run in a really competitive handicap over fences.
"He's come out of the race in good form and hopefully that run sets him up well for the big Festivals in the spring.
"I haven't had the nod from JP (McManus, owner) or Frank (Berry) yet, but you'd imagine that (Grand Annual) would be an obvious target for him.
"He went up three pounds for his run the other day, which leaves him on 138. You'd like to think that he'll keep progressing on the better ground in the spring, like he did last year. I'm very happy with where we are with him at the moment."