Emma Lavelle has Becher Chase plan for Highland Lodge

Image: Highland Lodge: Will go over the National fences

Emma Lavelle is keen to see if Highland Lodge takes to the Grand National fences in the Becher Chase at Aintree on December 6.

Despite being a beaten favourite on his comeback at Chepstow last weekend he showed far more enthusiasm than in the second half of last season and Lavelle hopes she may have a viable contender for the big race itself on her hands come April.

"He's a very frustrating horse as he has tonnes of ability," she said.

"What happens is he puts all his effort into his early races of the season which is why his form tails off.

"He just does what he wants, he goes out and gallops and jumps but because you can't tell him what to do if he gets taken on for the lead he goes half a stride too quick.

"That means that come the end of the race he has used up too much petrol.

"He's come out of the race well and I was far happier with that than with any of his efforts in the second half of last season.

"We'll stick to our original plan and go for the Becher Chase next as long as it is not bottomless. I think he'll take to the National fences and while it might be a long way off you'd have to be thinking of the big one if he enjoys it there."

Lavelle also has some nice targets in mind for Fox Appeal who ran a nice race under a big weight at Market Rasen on his first run of the campaign.

"He's only just over 15 hands so it's harder for him than some to carry big weights in handicaps," she said.

"He'll run in a graduation chase at Kempton next and then I'll look at conditions races.

"He might not be good enough to win them but we'll see.

"Something like the Peterborough Chase (Huntingdon, December 7) would look like an option at this stage."

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