Colin Tizzard is hoping for a dry spell so he can give Native River a racecourse gallop ahead of his intended comeback run in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on February 10.
The Dorset trainer reports the eight-year-old to be building nicely for a return to action after being absent since finishing third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
The Festival blue riband is again the prime objective.
"He's been galloping for over two months. He's fine. We'll probably still wait for the Denman and give him a racecourse gallop before then, when it dries up a bit," said Tizzard.
"There are not that many conditions races coming up before then. We did think about a hurdle race, but we'll wait for the Denman."
Native River is 12/1 with Sky Bet for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.