David Pipe will wait until later in the week before deciding whether to let Kings Palace travel north for Saturday’s totepool Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby.
The seven-year-old is unbeaten in two starts over fences this season, turning in brilliant displays at Cheltenham in November and December, and disputes favouritism with Irish ace Don Poli for the RSA Chase at the Festival in March.
Pipe is keen to give his charge more match practice ahead of his return to Prestbury Park, with this weekend’s Grade Two event one of three potential targets.
“We’re just having a look, we’ll see what the weather does and how he works during the week,” said the trainer.
“I think it’s hard for any of us to know what the weather is going to do at the moment, it might be worse up north, but we’ll see.
“Wetherby is one of a few options. There is the novice chase at Newbury on Betfair day (February 7) and then the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot (February 14).
“Those are the three races for him and we’ll hopefully go for one of them.”
Kings Palace is the star name among 15 horses in contention for Wetherby’s feature, with Alan King’s Ned Stark, the Philip Hobbs-trained Return Spring and Straidnahanna from Sue Smith’s yard among his potential opponents.
Clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson is pleased with the entries and is hopeful the fixture will not come under threat from the weather.
He said: “I’ve just looked at the entries and it looks a good race. Without checking I can’t be certain, but I think 15 entries could be pretty good compared to recent years.
“I looked at the weather forecast for the week and I was pretty content. A few people are concerned about a cold front coming in at the end of the week, but I looked again this morning and they are only talking about temperatures falling from 8C to 3C.
“I don’t see any problems on the horizon at this stage.”