Alan King is looking forward to the 2011 Champion Hurdle after Mille Chief held off Celestial Halo in a thrilling end to the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday.
The five-year-old was winning his first race out of handicap company and King believes that his nose victory over Paul Nicholls’ Grade One winning hurdler will have put him spot on for a tilt at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
However, King has warned punters that while Mille Chief is sure to come on for his latest victory, he will still have plenty on his hands in Grade One company this March.
"He's had to battle and he's done it well. It was the first proper battle he's been in so I'm hoping he will have learned from that," King explained.
"All roads lead to Cheltenham and he'll head for the Champion.
"We are under no illusions as we know he has to step up a fair bit but I look forward to running him and he is improving."
With the likes of Binocular, Hurricane Fly, Menorah and Peddlers Cross all preparing to tackle next month’s Champion Hurdle, it is looking like it could be a vintage renewal of the famous race.