Walk In The Mill will attempt to defend his Becher Chase title en route to another tilt at the Randox Health Grand National.
The nine-year-old, owned by Baroness Dido Harding, made his seasonal reappearance at Wincanton on Saturday, but was pulled up without completing.
Contesting the Listed Badger Beers Chase, the Robert Walford-trained gelding was eased with two fences remaining, as Paul Nicholls’ Give Me A Copper went on to claim the race.
Watch how Walk In The Mill landed the Becher Chase last year
Walford said: “He’s fine, he’s come out of the race absolutely fine. We’ll head for the Becher Chase, he’ll be entered there next.”
Walk In The Mill thrived last December when tackling the National fences for the first time, winning the Becher by an impressive four and a half lengths.
Walford then opted to revert to hurdles with his stable star, running him twice over smaller obstacles to try to sustain his favourable handicap mark.
The French-bred underlined his aptitude for the big Liverpool obstacles when coming home a valiant fourth in the Grand National, behind dual winner Tiger Roll.
Walford intends to tread the same path this season, campaigning the son of Walk In The Park lightly as he tries to maintain a workable mark and contend with the horse’s tendency to suffer from bruised soles.
“That’s the plan,” he said of a second tilt at the Aintree showpiece.
“Whether or not we get there is another matter, but that is the aim.”
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