GORDON ELLIOT'S exciting novice hurdle prospect Don Cossack looks set to bypass a possible engagement at Navan this Saturday in favour of a trip to the same track for a tilt in Grade One company the following week.
The smashing big Gigginstown Stud-owned five-year-old is unbeaten since joining Elliott and made a winning start to his hurdling career at Navan late last month. Elliott revealed yesterday: "He was very good the first day at Navan and he has come out of that race really well.
"There is a winners-of-one hurdle there this Saturday which we stuck him into but he is almost certain to wait until the following week for the Grade One there."
The Meath trainer added: "We don't mind stepping him up to two-and-a-half miles as he won a bumper over two miles and three furlongs at Naas last season.
"He jumped super the last day and it was great to get it out of the way.
"He is a very exciting horse and there isn't a great deal for him over Christmas so we will stick with the plan for the Grade One the weekend after next."
Meanwhile, the Aintree Grand National fences will get an airing this weekend as the Becher Chase takes place at the Liverpool track and it has attracted just one Irish entry, the Dessie Hughes-trained In Compliance.
Hughes' 12-year-old was pulled up in the Troytown Chase at Navan on his first start of the current season, but ran a cracking race to finish fifth in last year's Aintree Grand National when a 100/1 outsider.
Saturday is due to be his fourth start over the National fences, having initially finished sixth in the Topham on Grand National weekend in 2010 and then 13th in the big race itself the following year.
The in-form Curragh handler won the Becher Chase with Black Apalchi in 2008 and then with Vic Venturi the following year and of In Compliance, he said: "He's been around there twice in the National so he knows the place."
Bookmakers Paddy Power make him a 12/1 chance. Former Grand National hero Ballabriggs is the 9/1 third favourite for Donald McCain, while Alfie Sherrin heads the betting at 7/1.