Riders Onthe Storm could head straight to the Cheltenham Festival for the Ryanair Chase according to part-owner Carl Hinchy.
His trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies captured the Ryanair Chase in 2009 with future Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander and he could have another chaser in that bracket courtesy of Riders Onthe Storm.
Purchased out of Tom Taaffe's yard for £50,000 at the Goffs Spring Sale in May, Riders Onthe Storm is unbeaten in two starts for Twiston-Davies. The seven-year-old defeated Cepage (Venetia Williams) in a valuable handicap chase at Aintree in November and took another step forward when impressively landing a graduation chase at Ascot on 21 December, both over intermediate distances.
Hinchy, who part-owns the horse alongside Mark Scott, said: "Riders Onthe Storm is very well and came out of Ascot bouncing.
"He has done brilliantly since coming over from Ireland and we are looking forward to the rest of the season.
"He has been entered in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase as another option, but the Ryanair Chase would be the plan.
"It will be up to Nigel where he goes next. He may take in the Ascot Chase [15 February] on the way to Cheltenham because that race fits in nicely.
"However, we are just as happy if he goes straight to Chetenham as the owners would be keen for him to run at Aintree in the Melling Chase after Cheltenham."
Rest of entries
Frodon is among 44 entries for the £350,000 Grade One Ryanair Chase over an extended two and a half miles on day three of Cheltenham Festival (March 12).
Frodon and jockey Bryony Frost provided one of the moments of last season in Ryanair Chase, with Frost becoming the first female rider to win a Grade One race over obstacles at The Festival.
Paul Nicholls has the best record of any trainer in Ryanair Chase, with three successes, and the Ditcheat handler's four-strong team also features Ascot specialist Cyrname, Dynamite Dollars and Politologue.
Other previous Ryanair Chase winners among the entries are the 2018 victor Un De Sceaux (Willie Mullins) and 2017 scorer Balko Des Flos (Henry de Bromhead), who form part of 22-strong Irish challenge.
Balko Des Flos' stablemate A Plus Tard looks the pick of Irish-trained entries following his victory over Chacun Pour Soi (Willie Mullins) in a Grade One chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. A Plus Tard was one of the most impressive winners of The Festival in 2019 when bolting up in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase.