LAST YEAR'S Grand National third Seabass will make his seasonal reappearance in the Irish Hennessy at Leopardstown on February 9, rather than defend his crown in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase on Saturday.
The Ted Walsh-trained nine-year-old is far higher in the weights than when he was successful 12 months ago, which has persuaded connections to take on the best chasers in Ireland, like Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs, in the Hennessy.
Seabass is then likely to travel over to England for the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton before returning to Aintree to tackle the famous race again.
"The first time you'll see him is in the Hennessy next month," said Pat Glynn, who heads up the Gunners Syndicate, which owns Seabass.
"It was always the plan to go easy on him in the first half of the season as he builds up towards Aintree.
"After the Hennessy we're looking at taking him to Kempton for the Racing Plus Chase.
"We were going to go to that last year but the ground got too quick so we took him to Naas instead and he won there.
"He's back in top form now and he's going well at home. We haven't hunted him or been point-to-pointing with him this year but he's training well.
"We were going to run him at Leopardstown this week in the race he won last year but he's 21lb higher so we'll take them on at levels instead.
"The ground is no issue for him, that's for sure, and he can front run or be dropped in.
"Katie (Walsh) gets on great with him but she's injured at the moment and I'm not sure if she'll be back or not.
"We won't be stuck for a jockey."
There are 32 entries in the Leopardstown Handicap this weekend, with Hidden Cyclone topping the weights.
Call The Police, Quantitativeeasing, Organisedconfusion and Texas Jack are among the entries.