Rather Be is bidding to put a disappointing first half of the season behind him in Saturday’s 888Sport Handicap Chase at Kempton.
Just touched off by Mister Whitaker in the Close Brother Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Festival last year, Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old was travelling extremely well in the BetVictor Gold Cup in November when brought down four out.
He was then sent off favourite for the December Gold Cup, but never looked happy and trailed home in fifth.
“He worked with Ok Corral yesterday, and worked well,” said owner Matt Morgan.
“When he got brought down in the BetVictor Gold Cup he was travelling so well we really fancied him in December – but we just couldn’t explain it.
“We had his wind checked and everything. The weather turned horrific – and whether he got a bit spooked I don’t know – but he never looked happy from jumping the first, and that’s just not him.
“If any horse should have travelled through the race it was him. But he was never going – he was just out of sorts.
“It’s a competitive enough race for the prize money, but maybe not as much as it has been in previous years because it could be a reduced field.”
Morgan will have a keen eye too on the action from Chantilly on Friday.
He said: “We’re also sending a nice horse to France on Friday- a three-year-old we’ve got with Joe Tuite, called Highest Mountain.
“He’s going to Chantilly, because he’s French-bred so qualifies for the premiums, so we’re hoping for a good weekend.”