Ground conditions will dictate whether Thistlecrack will make his return to action in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday week.
Colin Tizzard’s charge has been sidelined by injury since finishing a close-up fourth behind Might Bite when defending his crown in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day of last year, but he is closing in on a comeback.
Connections have targeted the Charlie Hall as a suitable starting point for the season from a long way out, but Tizzard will be keeping an eye on the ground in West Yorkshire.
He said: “The ground needs to be right. He will have an entry in the race, but if the ground is good to firm, he will have other options. If they make the ground safe, it will be fine.
“This is the ideal race for him. He is in lovely form. We had him in early and we’ve done a lot of work with him.
“He is still a good horse. He wants to come out and win straight away.
“It could be a hot race, but these are the type of horses he has got to take on.”