Perfect Candidate is expected to put up another bold display when the veteran tackles the William Hill Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday.
The 14-year-old was a wide-margin winner at the track in attritional conditions last time out, forcing the handicapper to put him back up to a rating of 142.
Having been something of a Cheltenham specialist in his younger days, he has reserved his best for Merseyside the last two years, winning twice and finishing second to Lord Du Mesnil on another occasion.
“I suppose he did win by a long way last time, but he did put him up a lot (8lb),” said trainer Fergal O’Brien.
“He’s in good form. We’ve been waiting for everything to fall right. There’s been a couple of other races he could have gone for, but I think it’s very important that Paddy (Brennan) rides him.
“He’ll go and take his chance and we’ll see how he gets on – he doesn’t owe us anything and Paddy will look after him.
“We used to say he loved Cheltenham but now Haydock suits, he’s an out-and-out stayer and the races are there for him.”
Lord Du Mesnil will take Perfect Candidate on again, with trainer Richard Hobson of the belief his stable star has put a recent issue which has caused him to over-heat after his races behind him.
“We’re happy with him now. He has a deficiency, and it took a while to work out exactly what it is,” said Hobson.
“I’m not saying sorting it out is definitely going to stop him from over-heating – it doesn’t affect him during the race, it’s after the race.
“What we’ve been treating him with is magnesium, basically, and potassium. He’s been low on them.
“It’s a strange one really. All the other horses in the yard aren’t – so why he suddenly is (and) we’ve had to boost his magnesium and potassium up, I don’t know.
“But that’s the reason, and we hope we’ve got to the bottom of it – and he’ll put up a big display.
“As long as it rains, and he gets his proper soft ground, that’s what he wants.”
Lord Du Mesnil won the Tommy Whittle and Last Fling Chase at the track last season before finishing second in this contest to Smooth Stepper, after which he was second to Ravenhill at Cheltenham.