LONG Run has the Grand National as back-up if he is unable to contest the Gold Cup in March.

The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old is due to reappear in the Betfair Chase at Haydock next month, after which all roads will lead to the Cheltenham Festival.

Long Run won the Gold Cup two seasons ago but could only finish third to Synchronised in March.

Should he suffer a setback, however, connections could instead point Long Run towards the National next April.

Owner Robert-Waley Cohen said: "The plan is to run in the Betfair Chase at the end of November followed by the King George and Cheltenham Gold.

"The Grand National is an option if he does not make the Gold Cup. “He definitely will not be running in both races. I believe horses should not run again if they have run in the Gold Cup.

"Regardless of where you finish, they have a very hard race."

Medermit is likely to kick off his campaign in the Betfred Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase at Aintree on October 27.

Alan King's eight-year-old won the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on his first start last season and went on to run a number of good races in defeat, including when a close third in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

King is looking forward to testing the grey over three miles, but he is likely to start off over two and a half miles on Merseyside.

King said: "The Old Roan Chase is a race we are looking at for Medermit. I do want to go further with him this year, but I thought two and a half miles to start would be ideal and he has run well around Aintree in the past.”