County Hurdle for Starluck following Wincanton outing

Starluck is likely to have the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle as his Cheltenham target after the handicapper dropped the grey 5lb following his run at Wincanton.

The seven-year-old’s trainer David Arbuthnot has all but ruled out aiming Starluck at the Stan James Champion Hurdle, in which was fifth to Binocular in 2010.

Surrey-based Arbuthnot is being swayed by the handicapper’s decision to lower Starluck’s rating to 150 from 155 after he finished third to Binocular in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

“He’s very well indeed and I thought it was a nice run at Wincanton and he has come out of the race really well,” said Arbuthnot.

“They had a lot of rain, which didn’t help, and I was quite happy with him on his first run for the year.

“We were also a bit unlucky to bump into Binocular as he showed his best form for a very long time.

“That has probably told us that we’ll go down the County Hurdle route, rather than the Champion, as he’s been dropped 5lb.

“It looks an ideal race for him as he’s settling a lot better so we won’t have to drop him out at the back – which you can’t do in the County Hurdle.”