Trainer Robert Walford says Walk In The Mill won’t be running in the Betfred Eider Chase next month as connections mull over plans ahead of the Randox Health Grand National.
The nine-year-old put in a positive performance at Cheltenham on his seasonal bow in November – coming home third in the Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.
He backed that up with victory in the Grade 3 Becher Handicap Chase at Aintree in December before claiming another third place finish earlier this month at Chepstow.
Walk In The Mill, who is priced at 26.00 to win the Grand National, was expected to head to Newcastle for the Eider Chase next month, however, Walford admits that is no longer on their agenda.
The Blandford trainer is keen to get his charge out for another run before the Grand National and feels a step up in distance could be beneficial.
Walford said: “Walk In The Mill is in good form and he will probably run in a chase after the weights are published – and then we will think about where we go.
“I’m not going to run him in the Eider, because I don’t want him having a slog before the Grand National – that is our number one target.
“I will run him in something over two and a half or two and three-quarter miles. The Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury might be something we look at.”
The midwinter drought has also affected plans and Walford insists they will be avoiding any races on a quick surface.
He added: “He won’t run on ground worse than good to soft before the National. “If it is quicker than that at Aintree we will run him, but we won’t risk it before.”