Dude in line for National service
The Midlands National at Uttoxeter, rather than the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, is the most likely next port of call for Monbeg Dude following his staying-on third at Haydock on Saturday.
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The eight-year-old benefited from a vintage ride from Paul Carberry to get up on the line in Chepstow's Welsh National in early January and the Irishman employed similarly patient tactics in the Betfred Grand National Trial.
Although he still holds an entry in the Gold Cup, trainer Michael Scudamore believes conditions will have to be extremely testing to let his stable star line up in the blue riband.
Scudamore said: "He's come out of the race fine, but we haven't made any definite plans for him yet.
"The Midlands National is probably his most likely target, but he is still in the Gold Cup and the owners are keen to look at that as an option.
"Realistically the ground would have to be very soft or heavy for him to run in the Gold Cup, but we will leave him in the race and see what is happening with the weather.
"I think after going up 10lb for winning the Welsh National, we probably would have taken third place in the Haydock race beforehand.
"I thought he jumped much better and was just caught a bit flat-footed around a track that is probably sharp enough for him. He finished off his race really well and stamina is clearly his strong suit."