Musselburgh option for Charbel

Charbel could warm up for his return to the Cheltenham Festival with a run at Musselburgh next month.

Charbel (far side) could run at Musselburgh

The six-year-old was fifth in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park last March and has made a fine start to his career over fences this season.

After making a successful chasing debut in a strong event at Uttoxeter, Charbel finished a clear second behind star novice Altior in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown.

Kim Bailey has since given his youngster a short break and is keen to have one more run before returning to Cheltenham, with Musselburgh's Scottish Future Champions Novices' Chase on February 5 a possible option.

"He's fine and we're just waiting on the better ground," said the trainer.

"He had a few entries over the New Year, but conditions weren't suitable so we decided to sit tight.

"Cheltenham is the main aim and hopefully he'll have one more run beforehand, possibly at Musselburgh, where he won before the Festival last year."

The Gloucestershire-based handler also provided an update on leading Grand National contender The Last Samuri.

The nine-year-old was runner-up to Rule The World in the Aintree spectacular last April and while he was unable to make an impact on his return to action at Down Royal, he appeared lit up by a return to the famous fences on Merseyside when a close third in last month's Becher Chase.

Bailey said: "He's had a little winter break and is back cantering now. The plan is to go for the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster and then back to the National.

"He's going to have a lot more weight, but he does seem to like it there, so we'll see."

Read More at Sporting Life

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