Kirby looking towards Topham target for Ben

Phil Kirby’s popular campaigner Top Ville Ben could head next for the Topham Chase at Aintree.

The 11-year-old was pulled up when seen most recently in the Ultima at the Cheltenham Festival, but prior to that he was a gallant third in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase in early February.

The gelding already has some experience of the Grand National track having run in both the Becher and the National itself last season.

He may have pulled up before the third fence from home in the latter race, but he jumped well up until that point despite being seriously hampered on landing at the 10th.

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Top Ville Ben at Aintree in 2019
Top Ville Ben at Aintree in 2019 (Paul Harding/PA)

Kirby will school the horse at home after feeling his jumping was less than fluent at Cheltenham, and a satisfactory session will see him head back to Aintree for the two-mile-five-furlong handicap.

The trainer said: “He’s an entry in the Topham, so that’s the plan at the moment.

“He was just a bit sticky at Cheltenham so we’re going to school him at home.

“We’ll school him and if he jumps well then the plan will be to go there, but he’s come out of the race at Cheltenham absolutely fine.”

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