Joe Farrell is set to make his belated seasonal reappearance in the William Hill Supporting Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Newbury on Saturday.
Last year’s Scottish National hero has been unable to get to the track after sustaining a slight injury during a schooling session while being prepared for his return.
Trainer Rebecca Curtis reports the 10-year-old to be ready to start, although she feels he is likely to need the outing.
“It was a small setback, but he’s absolutely perfect now. Unfortunately he’s missed a couple of races so we’re keen to get him out on Saturday. Hopefully he’ll he’ll come on for it,” said the Newport handler.
“He’s had a long time off. He’s a big burly horse so we need to get a run into him.
“We hope to get him out once or twice and then run him in whichever he gets into in April – the Grand National or the Scottish National. That would be the main target.”
Joe Farrell was allotted 9st 12lb off a mark of 142 for the Randox Health-sponsored Aintree spectacular and is currently number 71 in the list with only the top 40 allowed to run.
He had ended what had been a quiet season by Curtis’ standards with victory at odds of 33-1 when edging out Ballyoptic by a nose in a thrilling finish to the Ayr marathon last spring.