Colin Tizzard is hoping his yard’s “brainwave” pays off when Grand National hope Ultragold runs first over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences next week.
Dual Topham Chase winner Ultragold is also entered in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival.
But after watching Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll win both last year’s Glenfarclas Chase and then the Randox Health Grand National, Tizzard plans to try to repeat the dose with Ultragold.
He said: “We have had a brainwave with him that we are going to run in the Glenfarclas Cross Country.
“It seemed a good prep race for Tiger Roll last year before the Grand National, and that is our thinking with him.
“We have run him at Cheltenham for the last two or three years, and it has always been a good prep for him before Aintree.
“He is in the Ultima – but the cross-country chase is going to be the plan, because I think he has got a better chance of winning that race.”
Ultragold, owned in a partnership which includes Terry Warner and the Gold Cup-winning Brocade Racing, has yet to strike beyond two miles and six furlongs.
But Tizzard, who will send the 11-year-old for a recce at Cheltenham, has no qualms about either the three miles six of the Glenfarclas or almost four miles three at Aintree.
He said: “We are taking Ultragold up to Cheltenham to school over the cross-country fences before the Festival – then he will head to the Grand National.
“If he gets into the Grand National with the weights, then that is where he will run.
“He has been superb over the fences, with two victories in the Topham, and we think he deserves a crack at the big one – he is so much better over the Grand National fences, and they just seem to bring him alive.
“We tried him over three miles and six furlongs at Warwick last time out. and he stayed on well. So there is no issue with his stamina – it would be special to see him line up in the Grand National.”