Phil Kirby will be looking to Top Ville Ben to boost his Grand National credentials when he takes part in the 888Sport Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby Racecourse on Boxing Day.
Disappointingly reeled in when on course to romp home to victory in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in his last outing, the runner will be looking to add to two previous wide-margin victories when a novice at the Yorkshire course last term.
Kirby said: “Top Ville Ben is in good form and the plan is to run in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby.
“He ran a brilliant race at Newcastle. He jumped really well and was only caught late on.
“Wetherby has been the target since and depending on how things go the Grand National could be a target.
“He is still progressing and we are looking forward to running.”
Top Ville Ben will be in a field of 24 alongside Nicky Richards’ hopeful Guitar Pete, this being another runner who performs well at this course.
Richards said: “Guitar Pete is in great form and the plan is for him to run at Wetherby in the Rowland Meyrick.
“He is bouncing and was entered in the Caspian Caviar at Cheltenham, but the idea is to step up to three miles as he finishes his races well.
“We have been tempted to put him up to three miles for a while and we think Wetherby is a good track to test out the idea.
“When he won at Wetherby, it was his first run for around a year He may have just bounced in November at Cheltenham as that was not his true running.”
Top Ville Ben is an ante-post price of 50/1 with Paddy Power Bookmakers in the 2020 Randox Health Grand National.