KIM BAILEY remains keen on a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Harry Topper after his good run in defeat in Saturday's Argento Chase.
The seven-year-old clinched the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his seasonal reappearance in early November, but his jumping fell apart when he was last of three in the Future Stars Chase at Sandown the following month.
His jumping again left plenty to be desired in Saturday's Gold Cup trial, but he stormed up the hill to finish third and Bailey feels he would not be out of place in the blue riband in March, provided conditions are suitable.
"Harry Topper is essentially not a bad jumper. When he is wrong at one he is just a bit slow to put himself right, so he is not a natural," said the trainer.
"He was giving weight to horses rated higher than him on Saturday. He'd have been a stone better off with the winner in a handicap.
"All in all, I thought it was a fantastic run and provided the ground is soft, he'll be going back to Cheltenham in March.
"I think the extra distance of the Gold Cup will be a real help to him."
Bailey did enjoy a major victory on Saturday with The Rainbow Hunter a 25/1 winner of the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.
The 10-year-old only made it as far as the eighth fence in last year's Grand National, but another tilt at the world's most famous steeplechase is very much on his agenda.
Bailey said: "He has come out of the race very well and we're very pleased with him, obviously.
"I was not surprised to see him win, as I thought he would run very well, but we were worried about the ground beforehand.
"I think the rain that fell during racing probably helped us as it just made the ground that bit looser and he was able to get through it. He has never been able to handle really holding ground.
"He had a wind operation after his last run at Haydock and I think that has made a big difference as well.
"Aintree is the plan. He'll most probably have a run somewhere beforehand, but I'm not sure where that will be. We'll see what the handicapper does."