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6:40pm Sunday 17th February 2013 in Sport
SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR is not certain to line up at the Cheltenham Festival despite completing a hat-trick over hurdles at Carlisle.
The Cotswold six-year-old, priced at 9-2, enjoyed a gutsy half-length success over Ardkilly Witness in a qualifier for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.
The Pertemps Final is among several Cheltenham options along with the Coral Cup, the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
However, connections of the Jonjo O’Neill-trained gelding, who has been over the jumps just four times, will not make a decision about Cheltenham until nearer the time.
Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: “He wouldn’t be a definite runner in any of the races there (Cheltenham) but we will see how things are with him nearer the time.”
O’Neill’s six-year-old Dream Again Boys (7-1) took the honours at Warwick on Saturday by a nose with Maurice Linehan ahead of Prime Location. The weights have been announced for the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 6.
O’Neill’s Sunnyhillboy has 11st this year compared to 10st 5lb in 2012 when he was runner-up.