Christian Williams is set to send Five Star Getaway back to Kempton Park on Saturday week with a long-term Aintree plan in mind.
Five Star Getaway gained his fourth chase success in seven starts when landing a Class 2 three-mile handicap at Kempton over Christmas, with stablemates Kitty’s Light (fourth) and disappointing favourite Cap Du Nord (eighth).
The Glamorgan trainer is weighing up the possibility of pitching the eight-year-old into graded company thereafter.
The Grade Three Coral Handicap Chase (formerly known as the Racing Post Chase) on February 26 is a possible target, while owners Carl Hinchy and Mark Scott are hoping he develops into a future Grand National prospect.
Williams said: “He looks exciting. He is a fairly idle horse. You get those clever clogs-types who try to hassle him in front, but Five Star would need a bit of help in front.
“You couldn’t walk him 100 yards down the road in front on his own. He needs a bit of help in front.
“There was no pace in his last race, so we just decided for my two (Cap Du Nord) to sit upsides in front. He won quite well and looked like he did it with his ears pricked.”
Williams added: “Kitty’s Light pleased us with that run. We thought it might be a bit tight round there for him.
“He is only a five-year-old and rated fairly highly. He is probably not quite good enough for level-weights races at the moment, so it might be a tricky season for him.
“There is a race at Kempton in a fortnight’s time (the Coral Committed to Safer Gambling Handicap Case) where he could go back and reoppose Five Star Getaway.
“Five Star went up 4lb, Kitty’s Light came down 4lb, so there is an 8lb swing in the weights. Jack Tudor didn’t ride Kitty’s Light last time and he claims 3lb and William Kennedy doesn’t claim, so there will be an 11lb swing with Five Star Getaway next time.
“He will probably go there. The ground never gets too bad at Kempton and Kitty’s wouldn’t want it too soft.”
Long-term, Williams is eyeing Merseyside for Five Star Getaway.
He added: “Carl and Mark are from Aintree, so something would have to revolve around Aintree I would have thought, but there are plenty of races there for him.
“We could wait for next year for the Topham, then there is the three-mile-one-furlong handicap chase there on National day, so there are plenty of options.
“The Coral Handicap Chase will be the obvious one – it looked like he enjoyed Kempton the other day. It is a hundred grand-plus race in the middle of February, so that’s the next target.”
Cap Du Nord, who dropped away after helping set the pace at Kempton, will head to Doncaster for his next outing on January 29.
“Cap Du Nord will go to the Listed Sky Bet Handicap Chase,” said Williams. “He was third in it last year (when favourite) and not beaten far, so that would be his target.”
The yard’s 2019 Welsh Grand National winner, Potters Corner, was pulled up when bidding to win the Chepstow marathon for a second time over the Christmas period.
However, he had previously shown plenty of zest when a nose runner-up to Diesel D’Allier in the Glenfarclas Crystal Cup over Cheltenham’s cross-country course and is still on course for the Festival meeting, according to his trainer.
“Potters Corner might not be good enough for the Welsh National and those type of races now, but we had to run him in it to find out,” Williams admitted.
“We will probably go straight to the Festival with him now for the cross-country race.”