PROGRESSIVE Roi Du Mee is likely to take another step up the ladder in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday week.
Gordon Elliott's prolific winner has not finished outside the first two in his last nine completed starts and produced a career-best display when beating Sizing Europe in the JNwine.com Chase at Down Royal.
He will face another stiff task on Merseyside, where he is likely to meet the Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth, last year's scorer Silviniaco Conti and possibly last season's Ryanair hero Cue Card.
"We'll probably look at going to Haydock next week for the Betfair and we'll see after that," said Elliott. "He has to compete in that sort of company now so we're very happy with the horse.
"It's hard to know how far he can go. We said last year we'd keep him out of Grade Ones and go for the Grade Twos and Threes, and it worked. We said we'd have a rattle at a Grade One this year and it worked, so we'll let him tell us where we go this year."
However, Long Run's participation in the Haydock showpiece still hangs in the balance. Nicky Henderson's 2011 Gold Cup winner and dual King George hero disappointed for the first time in his career when unplaced for the first time in 27 starts in the Charlie Hall Chase last month.
Still only eight, Long Run returned a dirty scope after his Wetherby flop and connections will only ask him to take on the likes of Bobs Worth if they're convinced the gelding is back on form.
"There are lots of different theories but nothing conclusive as yet," said owner Robert Waley-Cohen. "We've not decided if he's going to run in the Betfair yet. He will be prepared for the race but he will only go if we are 100pc happy with him."
Meanwhile, the Eddie Harty-trained Dressedtothenines could try to make it third-time lucky over fences in Clonmel's EBF T.A. Morris Memorial Mares Chase – a Grade Three contest run over two and a half miles.