Donald McCain's family will forever be synonymous with the Grand National, but the Cheshire-based trainer admits the Cheltenham Festival is now top of his priority list.
His late father Ginger will always be associated with Aintree and in particular the exploits of the legendary Red Rum, but the burgeoning McCain empire has attracted higher profile owners of late - and a better team of racehorses.
"From Christmas onwards you are starting to think about getting horses ready for Cheltenham. We were lucky to have a winner with our first runner there (Cloudy Lane, 2007 Kim Muir), which was great, but things have been a bit tougher since," said McCain.
"We've had six winners there altogether now, which is great, and I think it's got to the stage where we need to have winners at Cheltenham. Aintree is a special place for us, but we almost look at having winners there as a bonus. If you have a winner there we really enjoy it."
McCain has a strong team assembled, headed by Arkle-bound Overturn, World Hurdle contender Peddlers Cross and Champion Hurdle challenger Cinders And Ashes, and he nominates Our Mick as his best chance of winning one of the handicaps.
He said: "He was third in the JLT last year as a novice and made a couple of bad mistakes, but ran a screamer. He's only a little bit higher in the weights and was running a nice race at Cheltenham the other week when Jason (Maguire) decided to jump off him! He's in great nick and I'll be expecting a big run."
Super Duty was only narrowly denied by the David Pipe-trained Goulanes in the Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby last time and although he has handicap engagements at Cheltenham, McCain is leaning towards a tilt at the RSA Chase.
He went on: "I've been very tempted just to concentrate on the Kim Muir, but I'm starting to think strongly about running him in the RSA. He's never had his ground this year and was giving 7lb to David's horse the other day. He would have to carry nearly top weight in the Kim Muir. He's as tough as nails."
Son Of Flicka won part-owner Phil Williams the best part of a million pounds when landing last year's Coral Cup and McCain said: "He's a grand little horse and I think he's a pound or two higher than what he won off last year. He'll probably run in the Coral Cup, but we'll keep our options open for now."
Other possible runners are Diamond King (Champion Bumper), Any Given Day, Bourne and Hollow Tree (handicap hurdles), Counsel (Fred Winter), Desert Cry (Jewson), Cloudy Lane (Foxhunter) and She Ranks Me (OLBG Mares' Hurdle or Neptune).
31 January 2015Grand news at Wetherby
Turner hit with ten-day ban
Witness back to master Sandown
Chocolat looks sweet at Sandown
Pree primed for big Towton run
Mai heads Sandown Contenders
Walters Kean for National win
Polamco aiming to be Sandown Hero
Johnson seeks Champagne celebration
Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
30 January 2015Hopes rise for Wetherby
Newbury to stage veterans' hurdle
Dude set for two National prep runs
Leopardstown date for D'Antan
No hurry for Flemenstar return
Aigles skips Dubai trip
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