National fancy Gold Present set to take in Cheltenham on way to Aintree

Fri 23 Feb 2018

Leading Randox Health Grand National contender Gold Present is set to head to the Cheltenham Festival after missing recent engagements at Ascot and Kempton.

Nicky Henderson's eight-year-old is a general 20-1 shot for the Aintree spectacular following victories at Newbury and Ascot earlier this season, but he has not been seen in competitive action since his latest triumph in late December.

He was a late withdrawal from the Keltbray Swinley Chase at Ascot and was not declared for this weekend's Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton, meaning he is likely to warm up for his trip to Merseyside with a run in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the opening day of the Festival at Prestbury Park.

Speaking in his Unibet blog, Henderson said: "Sadly we had to pull Gold Present out of Ascot last week due to a bruised foot, which was mighty frustrating and it's just struggled to fully clear up.

"I had intended running him at Kempton in the big three-mile chase tomorrow, but the annoying thing is the 48-hour declarations as he wasn't quite right yesterday morning but today he's perfectly OK, so it is quite a nuisance really.

"If we'd been able to declare another 24 hours later he'd probably have run but I didn't want to pull him out two weeks on the trot.

"Cheltenham will be next and he'll take his chance in the Ultima Chase and then all being well the Grand National."

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