Phil Kirby is eyeing the Grand National or Betway Bowl for Top Ville Ben, with Cheltenham unlikely to be on the agenda.
The eight-year-old, who won the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on his penultimate start, was not disgraced when third in the Cotswold Chase to Santini and Bristol De Mai.
Top Ville Ben ran at Aintree last season, when a close third behind Lostintranslation in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
“He ran well enough in the Cotswold Chase against some good horses,” said Kirby.
“He’ll probably wait for Aintree and run in either the Grand National or the Betway Bowl now.
“He’ll most likely skip Cheltenham, skip the Gold Cup and go to Aintree. Not definitely, but most likely, that’s the plan anyway.”
Stable star Lady Buttons won at Doncaster on the same day as the Cotswold Chase and she is likely to head to the Festival, although her target remains undecided.
Kirby said: “Lady Buttons is well, she’ll go to Cheltenham for either the Mares’ Hurdle or the Queen Mother Champion Chase, one of the two.”
Before then Kirby has a big date at Newbury on Saturday with a live chance in the Betfair Hurdle through Whoshotthesherrif, who brings some top-class handicap form to the table.
“Obviously it’s very competitive, but he’s in good order,” said Kirby.
“I think he’ll want a bit further in time, but he’s in good form so we’ll go and take our chance.
“He definitely wants that better ground, it’s just whether or not it’s a bit quick for him with that pace all the way through. He’s a good galloper, though, and should go well.”