He may have fallen on his first attempt over the Grand National fences when he lined up for the 2013 Becher Chase at Aintree, but trainer Willie Mullins still believes that Vesper Bell is a solid candidate for the 2014 Crabbies Grand National on April 5.
At 8-years-old, the lightly raced chaser has had only six starts over fences with mixed results which include both a win at Punchestown but only a seventh pace in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase at Cheltenham last season.
He is now set to line-up for the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday with Mullins telling Sky Sports: “Everything suggests that what he wants is a long trip and testing conditions and he'll get that at Warwick.
“We hope he'll be going back to April in Aintree, that's the aim, we want him to prove he's up to running in the National – he'll certainly have an entry anyway.”
Willie Mullins was successful in the 2005 Grand National when Ruby Walsh rode Hedgehunter to victory for the yard and despite many attempts since then he has failed to win back the most coveted title in British Racing, despite having big names such as On His Own and Prince De Beauchene in his arsenal.
He entered seven last year including Quel Esprit, Lambro, Call The Police and Quiscover Fontaine with only three making the final line-up.
A solid run from Vesper Bell this weekend and he too could making it to Aintree in April though at this stage only one leading UK bookmaker has him installed in the ante-post market and that's at 50/1 ante-post.