Long House Hall to have hurdles prep for Aintree

Dan Skelton will switch back to hurdles with Long House Hall at the Cheltenham Festival ahead of a potential tilt at the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 14.

The Alcester handler intends to give the 10-year-old an outing in the Coral Cup after he finished a respectable fourth in a Listed chase at Doncaster last month on his first start in more than a year and a half.

Skelton said: “He will run in the Coral Cup and then we will think about. We wanted to get through the Sky Bet Chase first and go from there.

“We just felt why not, as we were second in it two years ago so you never know what might happen.

“I was really happy with how he jumped at Doncaster. He has always been a good jumper, but I just felt that was a lot better again.

“We will take in the next stage and have another think about it from there. He could be a Topham horse, if not a National horse.”

A first outing over the famous National fences could also be in store for stablemate Virgilio, who has won on three of his previous six visits to the Merseyside track.

Skelton added: “With Virgilio, I’ve just got to see what happens between now and then. He will have to have run and I will probably run him at Newbury on March 3.

“He goes well around Aintree, but how he takes to those fences is an unanswered question.”