Birch considered for Chepstow assignment

Silver Birch may run over hurdles at Chepstow on Saturday as he looks to get his John Smith’s Grand National credentials back in focus.

Although Paul Nicholls can still offer no explanation as to why the nine-year-old had to be pulled up in the Country Gentlemen’s Association Chase at Wincanton on Saturday, the Ditcheat handler reported the gelding to have come out of the race unscathed.

Moreover, Silver Birch, who is a now a 20-1 chance with Paddy Power to win the National, could return to the track over timber in the David Dent Handicap Hurdle on Saturday.

“We had him scoped by the vets at the track and they gave him a clean bill of health and he ate up all his grub,” said Nicholls.

“His legs are A1 so it’s a complete and utter mystery. Joe (Tizzard) said he felt really good going down to the start but was beaten after three fences.

“There’s a three-mile handicap hurdle around Chepstow on Saturday and if he’s alright I might let him run.

“He’s in the Racing Post Chase at Sandown but three miles around there might be sharp enough for him,” the trainer told the Daily Mail.

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