Grand National hero Tiger Roll is all set to reappear in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.
Gordon Elliott’s Gigginstown House Stud-owned eight-year-old, who is also a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, wrote his name into the history books at Aintree in April.
Having burst back to life last spring, he will find life tougher off top weight back at Prestbury Park.
“That’s the plan. We will keep him in cross-country races the whole year up to the Grand National,’’ said Elliott.
“I think the Grand National will be a big ask, as he is not the biggest horse in the world and he is going to have an awful lot of weight in the National.
“If you are not in it, you can’t win, and he proved he liked the track.
“If we get there, we would be delighted.’’
“When we bought him I never expected to him to do what he has.
“He has been an amazing little horse and is a favourite at home.
“If I can get him back to Cheltenham and win four times, that would be special for me.’’
Elliott also had news of Samcro, who was surprisingly beaten on his first outing of the season at Down Royal but remains on target for the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.
He said: “He is in good form and is going to work tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. All being well, he runs on Sunday.
“I’m not sure who rides him and it will be a last-minute decision, as Jack Kennedy who rides him is suspended.’’
One horse who won’t be in action at the weekend is Altior, with Nicky Henderson opting to skip Sunday’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
The Champion Chase winner will instead wait to make his seasonal reappearance in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 8.
Henderson said: “He’s in terrific form and working very well, but three weeks before it I don’t really need a race.’’
Henderson will instead rely on Brain Power, who was last seen falling in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree, having finished second in the Arkle to Footpad.
The Seven Barrows handler said: “Brain Power works with him – he’s probably the only horse that could, they do everything together.
“He’s in very good form. In his own right, he’s a very good horse.
“I do think he’s in particularly good form, so he’ll do Cheltenham and Altior will wait for the Tingle Creek. Altior is ready to run, I could run him, but I just think it’s a long way ahead of us and he’ll be fresh and well for the Tingle Creek.’’
Saturday’s feature event is the BetVictor Gold Cup, with Henderson set to call upon Rather Be.
“Everything has been good, he’s got one more bit of work to do,’’ said the handler.
“He just took a little bit of time to come to hand, but he’s in good shape now – his work last weekend was very good.
“His run at Cheltenham (Festival) was very good, that race (Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap) is a real conundrum, you’ve got to have three runs, you can’t go over 145 but if you’re 140 you run the risk of not getting in.
“I’ve got three horses that are on that rating now, so I’ve got to hold them there between now and next March. Two and a half miles around there is just about perfect, and good ground will suit him. His last two bits of work have been very good, so I think the bloom is there.’’
Frodon has been left at the head of 28 remaining possibles for the BetVictor, with Thistlecrack’s withdrawal meaning the weights have gone up by 4lb.
Thistlecrack’s trainer Colin Tizzard could still be represented by Sizing Granite and West Approach, while Frodon could be joined by Paul Nicholls-trained stablemates Le Prezien, Romain De Senam and Movewiththetimes.
Aso and Top Gamble are towards the head of the weights, also.
Last year’s winner Splash Of Ginge, the Gary Moore pair of Benetar and Baron Alco, Neil Mulholland’s Kalondra and Nicky Richards’ Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Guitar Pete are others to note.
The sole Irish possible is Eric McNamara’s Black Scorpion.