Ballyoptic will look to earn himself a tilt at Grand National glory in the Randox Health Becher Chase at Aintree next month.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained eight-year-old was a high-class staying hurdler a couple of seasons ago and rounded off a promising first campaign over fences by finishing a nose second to Joe Farrell in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April.
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies is looking forward to seeing Ballyoptic tackle the famous National fences at Aintree for the first time on December 8.
He said: “It was a massive run from him up at Ayr and the plan is to go get some experience over the National fences, so that is why he was taken out of the Ladbrokes Trophy and will go to the Becher.
“He has got to brush up on his jumping, but there is no reason why he can’t be a National horse.
“He was very strong at the back end of four miles at Ayr and it is definitely something that should be up his street.
“He has that bit of class and if he gets in a good rhythm he could go well.”
One Twiston-Davies inmate who is firmly on the Grand National trail once again is Blaklion.
The nine-year-old was fourth when favourite for the 2017 renewal of the world’s most famous steeplechase and looked a leading contender again last spring after dominating his rivals in the Becher.
However, he only made it as far as the first fence before being brought down and he was pulled up on his final outing of the campaign when favourite for the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
Twiston Davies said: “Blaklion won’t be out until after Christmas. He had a minor setback – just a very small thing. There are not many early-season targets for him anyway.
“He is back in work and doing lots of it at home, and he is getting there.
“The National is the plan again, all being well.”