Racing: Rhinestone Cowboy doubtul for stayers' event

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He landed the Ballymore Properties Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown on that occasion but has been out of action with tendon trouble since.

"His legs have been a little fragile ever since he got that tendon problem," O'Neill said. "He's cantering away but he's nowhere near a run at the moment and it is 50-50 whether we get him there on the big day.

"Every day you give him a canter you run your hand all round his legs to see all is OK, but the plan at the moment is to run in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle."

The Supreme Novices' Hurdle hope Acambo could round off his build-up to the Cheltenham Festival by running at Leicester next week. The five-year-old is the 6-1 market leader with William Hill for the Festival event after winning at Windsor in fine style last month.

His trainer, Martin Pipe, had entered him for the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown today, but his owner, David Johnson, reports he will head for a novices' hurdle on Tuesday instead. "He's a very progressive horse and had good form prior to coming to Martin's yard," Johnson said. "He's a big, strong, scopey horse and he's done nothing wrong."

Nigel Twiston-Davies is hoping for an improved showing from Fundamentalist when he tackles the Victor Chandler Chase at Cheltenham on 28 January. The eight-year-old beat just one home on his return from a long lay-off in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby.

"Fundamentalist is fine, it was the ground that caught him at Wetherby," he said. "He'll go for the Victor Chandler and you'll see him run much better."

The handler also had news of Ollie Magern, who finished sixth of the nine runners in the King George VI Chase. "Ollie Magern is in good form. He'll go for the Letheby & Christopher Chase [formerly the Pillar Chase] and then we'll see what happens after that."