Flooring Porter still on track for Stayers' Hurdle hat-trick tilt at Cheltenham Festival

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The eight-year-old was magnificent from the front in the hands of Danny Mullins in both 2021 and 2022, but his chances of lighting up Prestbury Park for a third time appeared to be in the balance having met with a setback following defeat in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. His hopes of making the Festival were described as no better than "50-50" at the time, but connections are now happy with their charge, who returns to his beloved Cheltenham as the 6-1 joint-fourth favourite with the race sponsor. "We're happy now and we're on target to run," said Cromwell. "Obviously he missed a bit of work and that isn't ideal, but we're happy with him nonetheless. He's in good form and hopefully now we can get him over there in one piece. "With such an unideal prep, hopefully he doesn't have as big a target on his back and we can be slightly under the radar. "But we're delighted to be getting him there - a month ago we were very unsure whether we would, so it's great to be thinking he's certainly going to run."

Cromwell is also hoping that Vanillier can sparkle in the spring when he heads to the Randox Grand National on April 15 following a pleasing display in Fairyhouse's Bobbyjo Chase. The former Albert Bartlett winner was coming off a back of a fall at the Dublin Racing Festival when lining up in the Grade Three contest, but produced a clean round of jumping to finish just half a length behind Kemboy in second.

He is now likely to head straight to Aintree and saw his odds trimmed to a general 25/1 for National glory.

Cromwell continued: "I was delighted with the run. He jumped and travelled well and it was a good run to finish so close to Kemboy. I suppose the third horse was a bit behind on ratings which wasn't ideal, but it was a good run nonetheless. "I would say he is unlikely to run again between now and Aintree, but he's not definitely not going to run again. "We don't know which way he will take to the fences, but hopefully he will and we're looking forward to it. "He's a horse who seems to come good in the spring, so hopefully that is the case."

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