Nicholls has long-term Grand National plan for Topofthegame

Paul Nicholls has identified next year’s Randox Grand National as a long-term target for his sidelined stable star Topofthegame.

Winner of the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, the Flemensfirth gelding finished second to Lostintranslation at Aintree the following month but has not been seen in competitive action since.

Just as was the case this season before injury intervened, Nicholls hopes to see his charge return to action in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury at the end of November.

However, while he once considered him a serious contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he now views the world’s most famous steeplechase as a more suitable aim for the nine-year-old.

The Queen feeds carrots to Topofthegame on a visit to Ditcheat
The Queen feeds carrots to Topofthegame on a visit to Ditcheat (Matt Keeble/PA)

Speaking on a call hosted by Great British Racing ahead of being crowned champion trainer for a 12th time at Sandown on Saturday, Nicholls said of Topofthegame: “He’s fine and the plan would be for him to come in on July 1 and aim him again at the Ladbrokes Trophy.

“Now he’s a bit older this year and has had a few problems – in my view, the race to train him for would be the National.

“I think he would be fantastic round Aintree as he’s got some class.

“My aim is to try to get him back on track and have a good crack at trying to win the National with him.

“It’s not going to be easy – it’s a challenge – but he’s in good shape at the moment.”

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