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Holywell camp yet to finalise plans for Cheltenham Festival return

Jonjo O'Neill insists he will keep his options open with regards a Cheltenham Festival target for Holywell after the gelding benefitted from a trademark Tony McCoy ride to claim victory at Doncaster.

The seven-year-old has already landed one notable success at Prestbury Park's showpiece four-day meeting when securing a cosy triumph under Richie McLernon in last season's Pertemps Network Final over hurdles.

Holywell followed up that effort by finishing second to Solwhit in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree but things did not quite go to plan when initially switched to chasing this season, being a beaten favourite three times, including when unseating McLernon at the first fence after being badly hampered at Wincanton.

However, he recouped some of those losses when staying on strongly under McCoy to score at Catterick last month and gave his supporters another pay-out at Doncaster thanks to the full driving force of the champion jockey.

McCoy was already pushing his mount along entering the home straight and a couple of slow jumps looked to have handed the initiative to second favourite Victor Hewgo as the leaders cleared the final obstacle.

AP has not ridden over 4,000 winners by throwing in the towel at the first sign of trouble, though, and he somehow galvanised a renewed effort from his mount to get back up and prevail by threequarters of a length at the line.

The winner still holds entries in the National Hunt Chase, the RSA Chase and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham, with bookmakers believing his best chance of success may lie in the first-named event.

O'Neill said: "I'm not sure yet where he'll go now. He's in the four-miler, the three-mile handicap, the RSA and the World Hurdle. We'll just have to wait and see and leave all his options open. It's up to us to pick the right one."

While it would be a tall order to take on Big Buck's and Co in the World Hurdle, McCoy did suggest that Holywell could benefit from dropping back down to the smaller obstacles at some point in the future.

He added: "I think he may be finding chasing hard as he's not very big. He might not be as good over fences as he was over timber and could be a horse that goes back hurdling at some stage."


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Holywell camp yet to finalise plans for Cheltenham Festival return

Jonjo O'Neill insists he will keep his options open with regards a Cheltenham Festival target for Holywell after the gelding benefitted from a trademark Tony McCoy ride to claim victory at Doncaster.

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