Caroline Bailey will only run her smart novice Boldmere in the 888Sport Grimthorpe Handicap Chase if the ground dries up at Doncaster.
The seven-year-old looked sure to take his record over fences to three from four in the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby last time out, only to fall at the last when in command.
To compound matters, the handicapper also put Boldmere up 5lb. As an alternative to Doncaster on Saturday, Bailey has given Boldmere an entry in a novice chase at Newbury over two and a half miles.
“It will be fairly ground dependent, because I wouldn’t want to run him in the Grimthorpe on heavy ground at this stage of his career,” she said.
“So I popped him in the Newbury race, which is probably on the short side for him, because a confidence-booster wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“He does seem absolutely fine – he has schooled well since his fall – but it’s just another option.
“The Grimthorpe was always first choice, but I wouldn’t run him on very soft or heavy. It’s impossible at this stage to guess what the ground will be, because the forecast keeps changing every day.
“He’s not in at Cheltenham – we didn’t even bother entering him. The thought was always Aintree – so this weekend fitted in nicely time-wise to have a run.”
Last season’s Eider winner Crosspark, who went on to finish second in the Scottish Grand National for Bailey, has an entry in the veterans’ race at Newbury – but the ground needs to dry up for him to run.
“He just wants better ground,” she said.
“He had it all last year and was in top form, but this year it just hasn’t worked for him.
“Also, because he had such a good year, he’s high in the handicap.
“I’ve put him in the Midlands National, but that is usually soft. I’d just love to get some sun on his back and some better ground.
“I’d imagine he’ll go back to Ayr for the Scottish National, if we can get him back into something like the form he was in last year.”