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."
16 April 2014True class tells at Newmarket
Buywise books big-race targets
Sandiva strikes for Dettori
Power runs Free at Newmarket
Magnus magic for Hannon
Cantlow on track for Fairyhouse
Kingman well-being delights Gosden
Walsh to ride out this weekend
Byron all set for Hong Kong mission
Gosden stays in winning Spirit
'Tentative' Cup entry for Zarkandar
Draw joy for Grandeur
Kiyoshi pleases in Newmarket spin
Leather in frame for Jockey Club
Tropics warming to Abernant task
Judge lays down law in Sefton
Toormore on trial in Craven
All eyes on Strauss at Newmarket
Ridge out to peak at Newmarket
Eduard camp look to the future
Mohammed outlines Educate plans
Dreaper duo on National service
Scott learns Melodic lesson
Bobs Worth unlikely for Punchestown
Williams - Buy needs to Wise up
Fly on track for more records
Arod team take cautious approach
Obliterator ready to roar for Lyons
Night camp favour French Guineas
Free and easy for 'forward' Medinah
Fahey braced for Sand storm
15 April 2014Minstrel a Punchestown possible
Joe considered for Cork encounter
Toormore the star turn in Craven
Inch edges closer to Oaks bid
Appleby backs Ring to fire
Oliver wants more from Set To Go
Double tops for Easterby
Varian - Hill in peak form
Hawk has eyes on Lingfield prize
Doyle in awe of Kingman engine
Art given Victoria target
Ground key to Thakhira Classic aim
Cyclone heading for Punchestown
Hopes still high for Hydrogen
Botti in no rush with Hawill
Soumillon booked for Spanish raider
Obliterator takes Newmarket trial
14 April 2014Taaffe ponders Argocat options
Meain machine set for Punchestown
Competitive field for Nell Gwyn
Curragh workouts delight O'Brien
Inis all the way in Listed heat
Sruthan away to winning start
Burke keen on Rivellino claims
Ground key to Cubanita plans
Derby entry Ectot shows class
Back to sprinting for Astaire
Berkshire team mull options
Millman relishing Carpenter future
13 April 2014Newmarket ground pleases Prosser
Golden Wonder states Classic case
Rock rolls to Ballysax success
Eduard one for the future
Scottish glory for Bowen and Co
Spencer strikes on Kaka
Sparrow takes flight at Ayr
Kingman new favourite for Guineas
Estimate easing her way back
Stack star set for Alleged return