Former Cheltenham winner Mall Dini could swerve this year’s Festival head straight for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree
The Pat Kelly-trained nine-year-old has been allotted 10st 4lb for the April 6 showpiece, and is no stranger to success in Britain having landed the Pertemps Final in 2016.
Last season he was the half-length runner-up in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the same meeting.
Mall Dini has made two appearances so far this season, finishing a staying-on sixth in the Goffs Thyestes Chase over three miles and a furlong at Gowran Park last month.
Owner Philip Reynolds, who is currently counting down the days to Presenting Percy’s date in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, said: “We are thinking about what we should do with Mall Dini.
“The Randox Health Grand National has come under consideration and is something we are thinking about now the weights have been released.
“He seems to have a very nice weight for the race. He needs four horses to come out and would run off 10st 4lb. We are tempted to sit the Cheltenham Festival out and go straight to the Grand National.
“Missing Cheltenham is something we are thinking about, but alternatively, he could take in both a handicap at Cheltenham and then the Grand National.
“We need to have more discussions, but the Grand National is definitely of interest.”
He added: “Mall Dini was a horse me and Pat bought for old time’s sake. He rang me two years after a meeting at a racecourse to tell me he had sourced Mall Dini.
“He is named after probably the most famous AC Milan footballer of all time (Paolo Maldini).”