Paul Nicholls hopes Al Ferof can start as he means to go on in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
The grey paid the penalty for trying to force the pace against Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle in March and was then beaten at Aintree, but the champion trainer retains the faith.
"He goes well fresh, he jumped well for Ruby (Walsh) in the week. While it's a tough task at the weights, if he's going to be a genuine Grade One winner of the future he has to be going close off that mark - and the same applies to Grands Crus," said the Ditcheat handler.
"If you look at his form with For Non Stop in the Henry VIII, that's good form. He also ran very well in a Grade One (Victor Chandler) at Ascot against Somersby. He made a mistake in the Arkle which ruled him out of that race and he was over the top by Aintree, so I've put a line through his spring form."
Walsh feels Al Ferof is the right type of horse for the race, telling At The Races: "You need a Graded horse to win it. It's a handicap in a word but not many handicappers win it. They tend to be Graded horses.
"Al Ferof has plenty of weight to give. He has to give Grands Crus 2lb. That shouldn't make much difference, but Grands Crus will be hard to beat and the team at Pond House are bullish.
"You look at Al Ferof's Supreme Novices' form. He is a Grade One horse. If he is going to be a King George horse this season he'll have to go pretty close on Saturday."
Owner John Hales is still on a high after winning the Grand National with Neptune Collonges, but is eyeing more big-race glory, saying: "He has raced over two and a half miles before and done very well. We have our eye on the King George, which he has an entry for.
"If he runs well over two and a half at Cheltenham, that would be the equivalent of three miles on a flat track like Kempton. Paul will make a decision about his next target after the Paddy Power."
Divers was third in the race 12 months ago, and trainer Ferdy Murphy said: "He's in great form. He schooled on Tuesday and worked well on Wednesday. I'm very happy with him. It's a hot contest, but that is exactly what you would expect for the good money on offer."
30 January 2015Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
Wetherby announce inspection plan
Melodic in Exeter frame
Chepstow gets go-ahead
Classy display from Vercingetorix
Ffos Las blow for Carruthers
McCoy in line for Coneygree mount
Blossoming Serge in Supreme hat
Peace declared for Triumph
Hercules features in Bartlett
Games given Neptune entry
29 January 2015Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
Brother sets sail for Festival date
Ferof takes Ascot acid test
Cogry has dual Festival options
Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
Henderson primes Betfair squad
Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux
28 January 2015Charities get O'Sullevan boost
Betway boosts sponsorship portfolio
Estrella waits on record bid
Spring not on Focus agenda
Warne on comeback trail
Warne on comeback trail
Mann planning Bleu National prep
Henderson dealt Triolo blow
Tornado blows hot at Taunton
Mann duo head to Musselburgh
Ginge given Scilly date
Cue Card goes back to basics
Eagle ready for hurdling bow
Shark angling for Punchestown prize
Nicholls retains Zarkandar faith
Ruby handed World ticket
27 January 2015No worries at Wetherby
Fry issue Puzzle warning
Grimthorpe goal for Milan
Ellison duo primed for Supreme test
Mulholland maps out Festival plans
Master retains Festival options
Doubt team seek jumping improvement
Dettori possible for National role
Uttoxeter bid appeals for Murphy
Ryanair defence likely for Dynaste
Palace stars in Towton fifteen
Gilgamboa set for longer trip
Jezki 'fine' after Hurricane defeat
Sire satisfies in schooling session
Sceaux leaves Mullins purring
Faugheen fancied for Walsh mount