Victor Dartnall would dearly love to have got a prep run into Giles Cross as his 11-year-old bids to make it third-time lucky in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.
Runner-up to Synchronised two years ago, the confirmed mudlark was also second to Le Beau Bai last season. However, an outbreak of equine herpes at Dartnall's Barnstaple yard in early November saw the Dorset stable shut down for around six weeks, with six equine fatalities.
Dartnall told At The Races: "He seems very well. He went well on Tuesday in his final piece of work and I'm very happy with him."
He added: "He hasn't had a run this year. We've come out of a dreadful situation, which is a worry. The horses haven't been running consistently, but he seems very well and everything should suit him at Chepstow.
"We moved him away during the height of the equine herpes outbreak we had and he escaped it. Very often, horses will need a run to cope with the awful ground we are getting at the moment.
"Having said that, it's the ground Giles Cross loves. He's hopeless on anything else so let's keep our fingers crossed. If I was going into the race with the yard in form I would be feeling very hopeful. The plan was to give him a run at Haydock but we couldn't as that was when it all happened and we had to close down for six weeks."
Monbeg Dude gave fledgling trainer Michael Scudamore a first Cheltenham winner when landing a Grade Three in November from 1lb out of the handicap.
Son of champion jockey Peter and brother of top rider Tom, locally-based Scudamore has booked crack Irish pilot Paul Carberry for the ride on his eight-year-old, who remains relatively unexposed over fences.
He said: "Perhaps it's not a vintage Welsh National if you look at the ratings. In years gone by, he could have struggled to get in, so that has to give you confidence. Looking at the market, he's beaten Teaforthree and Viking Blond around Cheltenham.
"He'll have to step up again having been put up 7lb, but I'm hoping mentally as well as anything he'll have come on for that. I see no reason why he couldn't come on a little bit more."
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King ace back in the Old routine
Ballyalton out for the season
McCoy makes Chepstow return
Hutchinson sits out weekend action
Botti seeking Astrelle celebration
Balding sweet on Park chance
Walker hoping for Glorious victory
Times out to make Newbury headlines
Cheltenham honour leading figures
Moore keen on Adelaide chance
Stevens back for Breeders'
Johnson Houghton fined
Duke lords it at Carlisle
Southwell first for O'Brien
Fenton fined over steroids
Buywise on the money at Ludlow
Lockinge the big plan for Toormore
Stone ruled out of Old Roan
Wetherby likely for First run
Elm tops Trophy octet
23 October 2014Fenton guilty of drugs possession
Williams hoping for Max power
Harty biding his time with Lane
Clonmel aim for Baily
Jezki possible for Morgiana bow
Harrington expects Naylor to shine
Gosden a Fan of Newmarket scorer
Northern aces face off in Cumbria
Murphy plagued by shoulder injury
Dynaste charts direct Haydock route
O'Brien outlines Breeders' plans
Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
High hopes for Adelaide run
Gilgamboa waits on ground
Dandino misses Cup date
22 October 2014December date for Balding memorial
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Whisky chasing Power spoils
Burke maps out Odeliz targets
Present sights set on Power prize
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Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
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Lewis eyeing Dubai success
Henderson handed Ascot role
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
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Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
Hughes revels in 'sweet' success
BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
Integral to race on next year
21 October 2014Storm breezes to Exeter victory
Moore concedes title to Hughes
Meade maps out gameplan for stars
Pele poised to tackle Hennessy
O'Neill sure of Taquin redemption
Heron seeking Great prize
Court to go on Trial
Saviour blow for Skelton
Dan makes chase debut
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O'Neill outlines That choices
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Power team weigh up options
Bangor cancel schooling card
No rushing back for Long Run
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Grands Crus retired
Exciting Berlais heads to Chepstow
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Commemorative bound for Breeders'
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