Flooring Porter still on target for Stayers' Hurdle defence at Cheltenham

Gavin Cromwell has brushed off concerns about Flooring Porter's performance in the Christmas Hurdle and will aim the eight-year-old straight at Cheltenham to defend his Stayers' Hurdle crown.

Danny Mullins expertly steered the enigmatic son of Yeats to glory in the Paddy Power-backed Grade One in both 2021 and 2022 and Flooring Porter is the 5/1 favourite with the sponsors to defend the title once again and join Big Buck's and Inglis Drever in the select band of horses to win the race three or more times.

However, he will head to Prestbury Park without a win to his name this season, having followed up a somewhat below-par reappearance at Navan by finishing fourth, beaten just under four lengths, in Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The eight-year-old has headed straight to the Festival having finished first and second in that Grade One event previously and Cromwell is keen to follow the same route, certain his charge will once again be a key figure in Cheltenham's Thursday feature if taking a step forward.

"He's fine and we will try the same again, straight there is the plan," said Cromwell.

Reflecting on his Christmas Hurdle run, Cromwell added: "I suppose we didn't get the result we were looking for, but he didn't run a bad race. We were hoping he would have run a bit better, but he stayed galloping at the line.

"I suppose possibly Danny didn't go fast enough, but it wasn't a terrible run and if he can step forward from that we can be competitive at Cheltenham.

"It's all about Cheltenham."

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