Jonjo O’Neill has confirmed Monbeg Genius is on course to attempt to give him a second Coral Gold Cup victory next month.
The Jackdaws Castle handler won the Newbury showpiece with Cloth Cap in 2020 and has another leading contender with the progressive seven-year-old, who is a 7-1 ante-post co-favourite for the December contest with the sponsors.
He won three times over the larger obstacles last term, a season that culminated with a gallant third at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ultima Chase behind Grand National winner Corach Rambler.
The gelding met a hiccup on his seasonal return at Ascot, when a couple of mid-race errors brought an end to his challenge and he was subsequently pulled up.
However, despite O’Neill preferring to see Monbeg Genius complete in that assignment, the plan remains to head to Newbury in search of a share of the £250,000 prize-fund.
The trainer said: “He will go there as long as the ground is well, and I’m sure it will be soft. He’ll go there and that is the plan.
“Ascot was a shame because I didn’t get a race into him, which was a pity and it would have been nice to get a race into him because you need a race when you are going for those big handicaps.”