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DECISION MADE? Cheltenham winner Imperial Alcazar’s 2022 Festival route seemingly decided

Fergal O’Brien confirms Imperial Alcazar is likely to be favoured for the Paddy Power Plate next week

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2ARPM8E Imperial Alcazar ridden by Paddy Brennan on their way to victory in the EBF British Stallion Studs "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Leicester Racecourse.

Imperial Alcazar will likely head to the Paddy Power Plate next Thursday over his other three entries, trainer Fergal O’Brien has said.

The imposing son of Vinnie Roe won over track-and-trip on Trials Day under regular rider Paddy Brennan, and will be unlikely to make the step up in distance for the Ultima with owners already likely to be represented by Fantastikas.

That was his first success over fences, having twice finished runner-up previously, and he will look to bounce back from the disappointment in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle last term.

WATCH: IMPERIAL ALCAZAR RECORDS A BLOODLESS CHELTENHAM WIN EN ROUTE TO THE PADDY POWER AT THE FESTIVAL [CREDIT: RACING TV]

And that performance is pleasing enough to suggest his chances lie better in the Grade 3 handicap following the events of the Stayers’ Hurdle on the third and penultimate day.

O’Brien told At The Races: “We’re looking towards the Plate on Thursday. That seems to be where we are heading at the minute.

G7JK02 Trainer Fergal O'Brien at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse, Bangor-on-Dee.
Can Fergal O’Brien claim a first Festival winner through Imperial Alcazar in 2022?

“Fingers crossed he’s in great form. He had an away day yesterday (Monday) and we’re very pleased with him.”

Earlier in the day, however, Ravenswell Farm will saddle Allaphilipe in the Pertemps on the back of his qualifying effort at Warwick last month.

Sire Du Berlais aims for a third Pertemps success on Thursday week

“He’s going for the Pertemps. We’re very happy with big Phil,” O’Brien confirmed.

“He’s only had the one run this year, but hopefully that will have brought him spot on.

“He was just a little short. Paddy said he blew up on the turn into the straight. We were happy with the run, it got him qualified and it was job done so we’re looking forward to running him.”

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.