Michael Winters hopes to have Chatham Street Lad fit for Aintree after ruling his stable star out of Cheltenham.
The Cork handler has run out of time to prepare his 2020 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner for the Festival, after he knocked himself in his box just before he was due to run in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran last month.
The Ryanair Chase had been Winters’ preferred race from three options at the big meeting. He will now focus on getting him ready for either the Topham Chase or the Randox Grand National at Aintree next month.
“He’s over the worst of it. His bone was very sore, but he’s walking solid enough now,” said Winters, whose charge was last seen finishing a fine third in the Betfair Chase to A Plus Tard.
“It would still be sore if you touched it so he won’t make it for Cheltenham. He’ll have missed three weeks’ work at best and you want to be supremely fit at that level.
“The owners are still hopeful we can run in Aintree. I’d love a feel over the Aintree fences this year rather than run in the Grand National, but it will be up to the owners themselves. I’ll be saying to them we’ll run in the Topham Trophy if he’s right.
“I’d be worried about the extreme distance of the Grand National, but if we are heading to Aintree we want to be getting him going in about 10 days’ time. That is the schedule from now on.
“I think when he’s 11 years old next year will be the perfect time for him to run in the National, if we’re all in one piece the way the world is going.”
Winters has called on the racing community to do what it can to help the people in Ukraine.
“I think the racing world is fast asleep. Every section should be doing something for Ukraine – the trainers should be giving one or two per cent of their earnings, the owners and the media should help as well,” he said.
“I believe we should show some compassion for people who are in desperation. The whole of Ireland and England should lead the rest of the world.
“Cheltenham previews are starting now but it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and lead the pack. Racing is under fierce pressure, but we should lead by example in this more important matter. We need to get the ball rolling.”