The Last Samuri could make a third appearance in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster following his creditable effort in defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Kim Bailey’s charge was an impressive winner of the Grimthorpe in 2016 before going on to fill the runner-up spot behind Rule The World in the Grand National at Aintree the following month.
Last year he was runner-up in the Grimthorpe and finished down the field on his return to Merseyside, but is heading into this spring in good form after finishing a promising fourth in the Cotswold Chase at Prestbury Park last weekend.
Jason Maguire, racing manager for owners Paul and Clare Rooney, said: “David Bass said he handled the ground OK. He was just outpaced and he was just trying to hang on to the coattails of the leading horses. That maybe just put his jumping under a bit of pressure, as he could have jumped a bit better.
“We were still delighted with his run and he stayed on really well. It was a great prep run for the Grand National. He might go to Doncaster for the Grimthorpe, but no decision has been made yet.
“He seems to love it around Aintree and hopefully he won’t have to carry top-weight there this year. It will be nice to see him back at Aintree and run another big race.”
Two young horses who have carried the Rooney silks to bumper success this season are Good Boy Bobby and Time To Move On.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Good Boy Bobby has won twice at Chepstow, while Fergal O’Brien’s Time To Move On made a big impression on his racecourse debut at Exeter.
Maguire said: “Good Boy Bobby will go for the Listed bumper at Newbury next weekend, providing everything is OK with him.
“He has got a fair engine, it is just a case of putting it all into place in the race as he gets quite warm before.
“He wore a hood last time, just to try to help him settle, but you could seen how keen he was.
“He is going to be entered for Cheltenham, but we will see where we are after Newbury as that will tell us a lot. Potentially he is really smart.”
He added: “Time To Move On will possibly go for another bumper. He was very impressive in soft ground at Exeter. He is still a big, weak horse and is a half-brother to Barney Dwan.
“He won’t be over-faced this year. I imagine he would have one more start then see where we are after that.”