By Racinguk.com staff
The nine-year-old retained his place at the head of the ante-post market at around 12-1 for the world's greatest steeplechase at Aintree in April, despite having to settle for the runner-up spot in the Betfred Grand National Trial for the second successive year.
While he was only beaten three and a quarter lengths by Vieux Lion Rouge 12 months ago on good to soft ground, conditions were much more gruelling on Merseyside at the weekend. As a result, he finished a tired 54 lengths behind winner Yala Enki at the line and was dismounted before entering the winner's enclosure.
Twiston-Davies has now ruled out the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and will concentrate on preparing Blaklion for another crack at the National, in which he was fourth last spring.
"He's fine, he's 100 per cent," said Twiston-Davies.
"He's going straight for the National. He's not going to Cheltenham. We're saving him for Aintree."
Meanwhile, Eddie Harty was at a loss on Sunday to explain Coney Island's disappointing display in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old was sidelined by injury for almost a year after splitting Our Duke and Disko in a Grade One at Leopardstown in December 2016, but made an impressive return to action at Ascot over the Christmas period and was well fancied on his return to Berkshire for Saturday's feature event.
He was pulled up by Barry Geraghty after making a bad mistake, but Harty reported his charge none the worse after returning to Ireland.
He said: "I don't know what happened. He jumped well early on, but then he made a couple of mistakes and Barry pulled him up, which was probably the right thing to do.
"He's back home and seems fine, so we'll see if anything comes to light or not over the next few days or whether it was just a bad day."
Harty's charge had been prominent in the ante-post market on the Gold Cup prior to the weekend, and he added: "It's too early to make any plans. If something comes to light then it does and if it doesn't we'll just have to move on."
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