Aintree the target for Cheltenham withdrawal Ballyrock

Tim Vaughan aims to have Ballyrock spot on for Aintree after an interrupted preparation forced him to rule out next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

The Vale of Glamorgan trainer had to hold fire on the smart novice hurdler after he scoped dirty a couple of weeks ago.

The setback was enough to prompt Vaughan to side-step Cheltenham with Ballyrock, who held entries in both the Neptune Investment Management and Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdles.

The Challow Hurdle runner-up will now be prepared for the John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree next month which Vaughan won with Saint Are last spring.

“He’s out of the Festival. He scoped dirty about two or three weeks ago,” said Vaughan.

“Although he’s grand and dandy now, I’ve chatted with the owners and we felt that from a fitness point of view he wouldn’t be spot on for Cheltenham.

“We’re going to swerve that and wait for the three-mile novice hurdle at Aintree.

“Some of my horses have not been quite right for the last six weeks. He was one of those so we’d rather just miss Cheltenham, but he should be perfect for Aintree.”