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Corach Rambler: Grand National hero set for Cheltenham Gold Cup bid before Aintree tilt

Corach Rambler was last seen running a decent third in the Betfair Chase at Haydock; Lucinda Russell's stable star will now head for the Cheltenham Gold Cup before a repeat bid in the Grand National at Aintree

Derek Fox and Corach Rambler
Image: Derek Fox and Corach Rambler look set for a Cheltenham Festival return

Grand National winner Corach Rambler will head straight for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham before aiming to repeat his Aintree heroics in April.

Corach Rambler was last seen running an encouraging race to be third in the Betfair Chase but trainer Lucinda Russell feels he would have too much weight to carry in the Ultima at Cheltenham, the race he won prior to success in the National, so the Gold Cup represents a better route.

Russell told WiIliam Hill: "Corach Rambler is in flying form and seems very well in himself. He'll go straight to the Gold Cup and we'll look to get a racecourse gallop into him before that like we did last year.

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"Everyone knows how much I love him and it would be very special if he could be competitive in another Grand National.

"Over Christmas we watched back the race last year and it was amazing how much he loved it and how well he jumped. That is the main target and, while I don't like to call the Gold Cup a prep, that's sort of what we're treating it as.

"He'll have to carry so much weight in the Ultima and we just feel the Gold Cup will be a better race for him. It would be amazing if he could run well in that which would set him up perfectly for Aintree."

She may have two runners in the blue riband with Ahoy Senor possibly lining up. He is likely to have another run first, however.

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Derek Fox and Corach Rambler win the Grand National
Image: Derek Fox and Corach Rambler win the Grand National

"Ahoy Senor is in great form and has fully recovered from his sore heel after Newbury. We've sorted that out and he's been doing really well at home since," said Russell.

"The aim looks the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and, if we don't go there, we'll look at the Denman Chase at Newbury - a track we know he goes well at.

"The race at Lingfield (Fleur De Lys Chase) could have been an option, but I'm not keen on running him on very heavy ground.

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"Providing one of those races goes well, it will most likely be the Gold Cup next. He has got an entry in the Ryanair and we could look at that, but I'd be leaning towards the Gold Cup at this stage."

Russell, who feels she possibly ran Giovinco back too quickly in the Kauto Star Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and may go to Sandown or Cheltenham next, also passed on a good word for the mare, Apple Away.

"She's a bit of a dark horse and I'm quietly confident she might run quite well in the Brown Advisory. She'll head to Warwick next weekend and I've been really happy with her at home since her last run," she said.

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