Noel Meade's high-class novice hurdler Apache Stronghold could head straight to the Cheltenham Festival without the aid of another run.
The six-year-old was a high-class bumper horse last season and took his record over timber to two from two when winning Navan's Monksfield Novice Hurdle at the end of November.
However, a couple of setbacks have prevented him making the racecourse since and with the Festival now just eight weeks away, his trainer admits he is running out of time to get another run in between now and March.
Meade told At The Races: "He bruised his foot the day he was running in the Navan (novice) hurdle and the following week he got cast in his box and banged his front shin, so that has held me up.
"He was to run in the Slaney Hurdle (at Naas) and we had to postpone that, so it has just slowed us up.
"When you get held up this time of year going into Cheltenham, it's a bit of a bummer, but we're very hopeful we will be there.
"He was very good the day he won (at Navan) and we think he's pretty useful.
"Whether we get a run into him (before Cheltenham) or not, I don't know. We'll see how we go.
"You don't want to run too close to Cheltenham."