Ryan Mania feels Blakemount will head to the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham with a realistic chance.

Sue Smith's six-year-old was beaten in a photo finish to the Grade Two River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster on Saturday, and Mania think the likely better ground in March will be a big plus.

"He's a proper horse, one of the best I've sat on," said Mania.

"If he was in a bigger yard I think he'd be a much shorter price for the Albert Bartlett. He's just been touched off by some good horses.

"It was hard work on Saturday in the ground and we hit the front, but Brian (Hughes) had an easy lead in front on Urban Hymn and was just able to save a bit and we had no more left to give.

"I think the uphill finish on a stiff track like Cheltenham will suit him and we know he stays.

"The better ground will be a plus because although he goes through soft, he handled good ground at Newcastle much better.

"I'm not saying we're going to win but he must go there with a good chance.

"I haven't talked to Sue and Harvey about it but I'd imagine it will be straight to Cheltenham now as it's only six weeks and he had a pretty hard race."