Mouse Morris believes China Rock is ready to show his true colours in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday week.
The Punchestown Gold Cup hero missed the first part of the new campaign after suffering a setback and did not reappear until last month's Lexus Chase. He travelled as well as anything during the race, but predictably weakened in the home straight and passed the post well held in fifth.
Morris is confident his charge will strip fitter for his next run and is keen to see how he fares before making plans for the spring. He holds entries in both the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
Morris said: "China is going to run in the Hennessy and we'll see where we go after that. He's been in great form since Christmas. He ran well for a long way in the Lexus and just got tired.
"I think he's come on a ton for the run, so we'll see how he gets on next time and make a plan from there."
Two Morris inmates who are Festival-bound are First Lieutenant and Rule The World.
First Lieutenant was beaten just a head by Tidal Bay in the Lexus and appears set for the Gold Cup, while runaway Naas winner Rule The World is prominent in ante-post lists for both the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett.
"It's so far so good with them. We've had no hiccups yet but there is still over a month to go, which is a long time," said the trainer.
"Both horses are in good shape at the moment.
"I would say Rule The World will probably run in the two-mile-five-furlong race (Neptune), but I don't want to commit to that just yet."
26 May 2015Double sets welcome mark for Gask
Haggas on War footing for Ascot
Rain would boost Sand Ascot dream
Oaks trip to suit Legatissimo
Coronation up Dolniya's street
Karaktar on track for French Derby
Punters' Pal Set For Musselburgh
Ribbons may cut a dash to Curragh
Simenon bids for Henry II rule
Gosden duo at ease for Brigadier
Derby duo gives Gosden glee
Found remains in Derby hat
Park satisfies in Epsom spin
Angel of the north has Royal aim
Treve delights Head-Maarek
Epicuris heads to Epsom
Fire lit up for Redcar gold run
Park set for Epsom 'sighter'
Karpino oozes class in Cologne
Limato set for Haydock weekend run
Moviesta pleases in Curragh spin
Leisure date for Lucky
Prince to step up
Cirrus likely to bypass Epsom
Ascot option for Devonshire
25 May 2015Limato set for Haydock weekend run
French ace Chop in line for Ascot
Pretty target for Tamadhor
Prolific Robin in foal
Ramone delights Farrell
Moore set for Shamal ride
O'Brien still has Derby puzzle
Air Force has lift-off on debut
Guineas glory for Pleascach
More Curragh Gold for Kazeem
Curvy holds off Canaletto
Super Solow takes Longchamp prize
Varian pleased by Belardo effort
Dirty scope blamed for Byron run
Ascot test for Time
24 May 2015Full steam ahead for Mast return
Mustajeeb sprints to it
Pearl's a sprint jewel for Barron
Tate springs Listed surprise
First Ascot chance for Crisford
Glen best miler we've had - O'Brien
Exciting options for Simcock ace
Muta grabs Bowl with late charge
No decision on replacement - McCoy
Harrington bids for Guineas glory
23 May 2015Mustajeeb sprints to it
Big-race options for Corsican team
Gagarin in orbit for Gallinule
Tudhope back for Force mount
Luck be a Lady for Burke
Gleneagles tees off at Curragh
Stars dazzles at Goodwood
Dettori receives golden ticket
Tudhope suffers Haydock blow
Gatsby in great form for Gold run
O'Brien banking on Found progress
Sole seeking home success
Remote makes Festival return
Force back for Temple test