TOM Gretton is set to saddle his first Cheltenham Festival runner when Kauto Riko lines up at the home of jump racing next week.

The eight-year-old son of Ballingarry, who is related to legendary chaser Kauto Star, has two possible targets during the four-day feast of racing.

The bay gelding has entries in the two-and-a-half mile Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase on the Thursday of the meeting (March 14), as well as the two-mile Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase a day later.

Despite a mistake at the first which put paid to his seasonal bow at Aintree, the horse then cruised to success at Haydock in December before a third-placed finish at Kempton in January.

Inkberrow handler Gretton is now leaning towards the two-and-a-half mile contest at Prestbury Park for his star chaser.

He said: "We've had a clear run with him and he goes well fresh, so hopefully he'll be able to run well.

"It is exciting to have our first runner at the Festival. It's the place that everyone wants to go and where everyone wants to have a runner.

"He's done well and whatever race we pick for him now would be a big one because of his rating, so we'll head to Cheltenham and see how we get on.

"He'll most likely head for the two-and-a-half mile race unless the ground comes up really soft.

"He's mainly been seen over two miles but he won't have any trouble with the extra distance and it could even bring some improvement out."