Riders Onthe Storm could head for Cheltenham on New Year’s Day after his gallant second at Aintree.
The eight-year-old was a Grade One winner in 2020 when taking the Ascot Chase but seemed to then lose his way and has not won since.
Connections switched the gelding from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable to the yard of Richard Hobson earlier this year, with his Aintree effort his first for his new trainer.
Despite carrying top-weight, Riders Onthe Storm looked the winner for much of the contest only for his welter burden to tell close home and he ended up being claimed by Clan Legend.
“It was probably a drop in class with his ability but, after a whole season in the darkness and not performing, it’s just nice to see him back to his enthusiastic self,” said Hobson.
“It was very windy. Nick (Scholfield) said the crosswind hit him and made him jump a little bit right but he still jumped very well.”
“We felt that he was good enough to win on the day but that there’s still a little bit of improvement in him and that suggests he’ll come on for the run.
“He might go to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day for a handicap chase there over two miles and four (furlongs).
“He’s extremely well, he’s ready to go again really but we want to make sure his runs are nicely spaced out.”