Robert Walford has ruled out using next month’s Betfred Eider Chase as Walk In The Mill’s prep run for the Randox Health Grand National.
The Blandford trainer will look for races under three miles for the nine-year-old – who won the Becher Chase over the famous fences on his penultimate start – after the weights for the Aintree marathon are released on February 12.
He said: “Walk In The Mill is in good form and he will probably run in a chase after the weights are published – and then we will think about where we go.
“I’m not going to run him in the Eider, because I don’t want him having a slog before the Grand National – that is our number one target.
“I will run him in something over two and a half or two and three-quarter miles. The Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury might be something we look at.”
Walford will be avoiding any races run on a quick surface, though, if the midwinter drought continues.
“He won’t run on ground worse than good to soft before the National,” he added.
“If it is quicker than that at Aintree we will run him, but we won’t risk it before.
“We ran him over hurdles at Chepstow the other day because he is a bit of lunatic at home, so he was better off going to the races and getting a bit of gas out of his system.
“That was the thinking behind that.”