Milton Harris will target Aintree with Scriptwriter after he failed to line up in the JCB Triumph Hurdle on Friday due to scoping dirty.
Scriptwriter contested Group races on the Flat for Aidan O’Brien and has become a decent hurdler. In the care of the Wilshire handler, he is one of the leading British juveniles.
Winner of Cheltenham’s Grade Two Triumph Hurdle Trial in November, the four-year-old reverted to the Flat to win at Wolverhampton on his next outing before returning to Cheltenham to find only Comfort Zone too good.
He carried a penalty for his Grade Two success when beaten favourite in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and while not near his best, Harris had hoped he would bounce back in the Triumph.
Scriptwriter will now head to Aintree in a bid to emulate Knight Salute, who capped a remarkable juvenile season by landing the Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle at the Grand National meeting last year.
“Scriptwriter is fine,” said Harris. “He will now go to the Grade One at Aintree.
“It was just that the scope wasn’t clean, and it was not worth the trouble.
“It’s a pity as I was hopeful he’d run a nice race and show us the form we know he is capable of. We’ll be all right, don’t worry.”
Knight Salute, who was last seen finishing third in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in November, is still battling to recover from a major injury after an operation the following month.
“He had to have a rotten tooth taken out under anaesthetic and he injured himself getting up after,” said Harris. “He’s obviously out for the season and we’ll do what’s best for him.
“It’s a huge shame, but it shows you how fragile these brilliant animals are.”