Gary Moore believes Authorised Speed will have no problems handling the occasion at Cheltenham after earmarking the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival™ as his long-term target.
The Lower Beeding trainer intends to take aim at the Grade One contest (taking place on Wednesday 16th March) with the gelded son of 2007 Derby winner Authorized, who he describes as having “a good mind”.
He went one better than on his first two starts at Market Rasen and in a Listed contest at Ascot with a decisive 10-length success at Newbury on his latest outing on January 19th.
But while making an appearance at The Festival is the five year-old’s main end of season objective, Moore will return him to Newbury first for a tilt at a Listed bumper at the Berkshire track on February 12th.
Moore said: “The plan is to go back to Newbury for a Listed bumper there next month and then, all being well, he will go to Cheltenham.
“The Champion Bumper is something I don’t know a great deal about as we haven’t had many runners in it but he has a good mind so hopefully he should handle it.
“I don’t know what he beat at Newbury and it probably wasn’t the strongest bumper for the track but you don’t normally go to Newbury and win a bumper by 10 lengths so he must be a half-decent horse.”
Moore might be planning bigger targets for Authorised Speed now, but he admits he was surprised at how long it took him to get off the mark.
He added: “I thought he was a certainty going to Market Rasen and then when he was coming to challenge he got wiped out. He then ran a blinding race at Ascot in a Listed bumper.
“He cost a fair penny (€155,000 at Goffs in August 2020) but he is a horse that we have always liked. He will be even better when he goes over hurdles.”
Owner Pat Gallagher is more associated with his runners on the Flat, but Moore believes he is slowly warming to Jump racing, due in part to Authorised Speed’s success.
The trainer concluded: “The owner is not a jumping man so I’m lucky I got to buy this one. This is the reason why we are going down the bumper route this season.
“Although his owner is more of a Flat man, he is now starting to enjoy Jump racing a bit more now it looks like he has a decent horse.”