Harry Fry is targeting Midlands Grand National compensation for Ask Me Early after he was forced to sit out the Welsh equivalent.
The eight-year-old was at the head of ante-post lists for the Chepstow marathon over the Christmas period after winning on three of his four previous visits to Monmouthshire.
But Fry ultimately declared his charge a non-runner after a schooling fall in the days leading up to his bid for big-race glory.
“Ask Me Early is on the road to recovery,” said the trainer.
“It was very disappointing not to make the race, particularly as we’d beaten the runner-up well last year over fences.
“We’re pleased we’re still able to make plans for the horse – and while there’s no immediate plans, we’d like to have a go at the Midlands National in March.
“We’ll be looking to give him a run before then, but that is something we’ve got earmarked.”
It proved to be a frustrating festive period for the Fry team, with Forever Blessed having to be pulled up in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle on the Welsh Grand National undercard after suffering significant interference earlier in the race, with jockey Sean Bowen performing miracles to stay in the saddle.
Fry reports his charge to be none the worse for the experience, but said: “He didn’t know what hit him. He’s only a three-year-old who was having his third ever run and he literally had the stuffing knocked out of him.
“The main thing is he’s been absolutely fine since. There’s no immediate plans as things stand. It was obviously very disappointing what happened to us.
“I’ve never really seen him as a Triumph Hurdle horse – he’s more of a staying chaser in the making.
“That was what made what happened at Chepstow all the more frustrating as if there was going to be a big day in him, it was going to be that race in those conditions we know he handles.”