De Rasher Counter is likely to be aimed at the Midlands National at Uttoxeter after finishing a well-beaten fourth in the Cotswold Chase.
Emma Lavelle’s Ladbrokes Trophy winner made mistakes at Cheltenham last week and was put in his place by Santini and Bristol De Mai.
While next year Aintree may beckon, this season Lavelle will return to Uttoxeter and a meeting where De Rasher Counter was successful last year.
“I didn’t even put him in the Grand National this year because I don’t think he’s ready for it,” said Lavelle.
“I think he’d prefer nicer ground – it was tacky at Cheltenham and wasn’t loose enough.
“When they quickened a little, it made him make a mistake and we never really got back into it. He galloped up the hill, but he won’t be in the Gold Cup on the back of that.
“Our thoughts are we might look at the Midlands National with him as he’s got good course form and it’s a valuable race. Yes, he’ll have nearly top weight, but it’s a big race in it’s own right, so at the moment that’s probably where we’ll head.
“He’s got plenty of ability – he showed that at Newbury, which was always our aim, so he owes us nothing. I think the National will be our aim next year, but he needs a bit more experience.”
Lavelle had better luck with Runswick Bay, who made a pleasing winning debut in a bumper at Wincanton on Thursday.
“He’s such a sweet horse and so straightforward – he just waits for you to tell him what to do, which makes it easy,” she said.
“At this stage we’re not really planning to do anything, he’ll tell us. We’ll see how he comes out of it and see how he does physically and mentally, but I’m in no rush with him.
“He’s schooled well and next season will be important, but if he’s fine along the way and a decent race comes up, we may go for it. He won’t be going to Cheltenham – Aintree might be something to look at, but he’s one for next year.”