FORMER Grand National winner One For Arthur heads the entries for the Rowland Meyrick Chase, the Boxing Day highlight at Wetherby.
However, connections stress they are keeping their options open ahead of the three-mile race and will consider races at Haydock and Warwick.
Victorious at Aintree in 2017, trainer Lucinda Russell’s stable star then missed all of last season with an injury.
He made his long-awaited comeback at the Merseyside track earlier this month when unseating his rider at the third fence.
“We’ve got a couple of options – and this is one of them,” she told The Yorkshire Post.
“We are preparing him for it, but there are races at Warwick and Haydock. We’re keeping our options open.”
As for One For Arthur’s comeback run ending so prematurely, she added: “We didn’t really expect it. It was a novice mistake.”
One For Arthur is the highest-rated horse in a race that also includes champion trainer Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present, owned by Yorkshire businessman John Cotton.
A 18-strong field also includes Sue Smith’s Wakanda who has been second in the last two renewals of this race, and who made a pleasing reappearance at Wetherby earlier this month.
The High Eldwick trainer has also included Vintage Clouds, who also holds an entry in next Thursday’s Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
Another eyecatching entry is the Nick Alexander-trained Lake View Lad. Like Vintage Clouds, he runs in the colours of leading owner Trevor Hemmings and the Grand National will be the long-term target.
The progressive horse came to prominence earlier this month when winning Newcastle’s Rehearsal Chase under Middleham-based Henry Brooke, who is seeking a hat-trick of Rowland Meyrick wins following his victories on Definitly Red in 2016 and Get On The Jager last year.
Meanwhile, defending champion Might Bite heads a potential 11-strong field for Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase at Kempton.
However, Nicky Henderson’s charge is on a recovery mission after finishing last of five in Haydock’s Betfair Chase.
Bristol De Mai, Native River, Thistlecrack and Clan Des Obeaux, the first four home at Haydock, all feature in a wide open renewal of this three mile Grade One chase.
A competitive field includes Malton trainer Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently, who has been on the injury sidelines since landing the Ascot Chase in February.
Waiting Patiently won at Kempton in January and remains unbeaten from six starts over fences.
In other entry news ahead of racing’s hectic festive period, Sam Spinner and Unowhatimeanharry, are among a field of 11 declared for tomorrow’s JLT Hurdle at Ascot.
Unowhatimeanharry lifted the prestigious Grade One prize, formerly known as the Long Walk, in 2016, but was only third behind Leyburn trainer Jedd O’Keeffe’s charge 12 months ago.
However, the Harry Fry-trained 10-year-old, owned by JP Mcmanus, returned to winning form in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month when Sam Spinner – beaten at the time – unseated Joe Colliver at the second-last obstacle.
North Yorkshire trainer Phil Kirby recorded his landmark 50th winner of 2018 when Niven prevailed at Hexham yesterday under stable jockey Adam Nicol.