George plays down Duffer claims

Tom George believes it is premature to talk about No Duffer being a candidate for the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in April.

No Duffer: Could develop into a National contender

The nine-year-old advertised his staying powers with a resilient victory over three miles at Doncaster, but the Slad handler is keen to take things one step at a time.

George said: "He is (rated) 144 at the moment and needs to go up a couple of pounds in the handicap before we can think about it, as you needed to be 145 to get in this year.

"He turns 10 next month so those veterans' races slot in quite well. There is one at Exeter at the end of January and one at Doncaster in February.

"They are quite nice prizes and are easier options. I would have thought that is the route we would take.

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"He puts a lot of effort into his races, so he doesn't need a lot of racing.

"If we are going to go for a National we might go for the English one, but it's all a bit hypothetical yet.

"If he does go up a few more pounds we can assess his options, but we will take it a race at a time."

All roads are set to lead to back to Aintree for 2015 National runner-up Saint Are, who departed at the first fence of the Becher Chase earlier this month.

George said: "He is fine after his fall. It was just unfortunate and we can put that down to the standing start.

"I think it surprised the horse more than anyone.

"He will probably now go for the veterans' chase final at Sandown next month."

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