Barry Geraghty believes Oscar Whisky was not at his best in the Cleeve Hurdle on Saturday, despite him proving his stamina over three miles.
Nicky Henderson's dual Aintree Hurdle winner has posed an ante-post conundrum for punters with some believing he holds a lively chance in the Champion Hurdle and others thinking he is tailor-made for the World Hurdle.
Saturday's run was only the second time he has tackled the World Hurdle trip of three miles, finishing fifth in the big race last season, and he went down only narrowly in heavy ground to Reve De Sivola.
However, Geraghty did not feel comfortable at any stage, suggesting better can be expected in March.
"He never travelled with anywhere near the same zest as he has done his last few runs," Geraghty told At The Races.
"We beat Crack Away Jack 19 lengths the last day, yet he was on my tail the whole way and I could never shake him off.
"I don't think we saw the best of him, but I think he got the trip so the World Hurdle is a big option for him.
"At two and a half miles I wasn't going anywhere near as well as I should have been, or even at two miles.
"He might have more pace on better ground, but he's won on very soft ground - the ground isn't really an issue.
"I think Reve De Sivola is the one to beat in March, but he might be ground dependant."