Keith Reveley’s stable star was attempting to win the race for a second successive year but found life a little tougher off a much higher handicap mark.
Night In Milan still ran his race, though, finishing 11 lengths behind surprise winner Wayward Prince. “He’s come out of it grand, no cuts or anything, so it’s straight to the National now,” said the Saltburn handler.
“The winner was a very good horse a few years ago and had plummeted down the weights. “He was just too well handicapped for us, but we ran our race.
“He’s proved in his last two races he doesn’t have to make all of the running now, and that is crucial because that would be very hard to do in a National.
“You can’t make all (of the running) off top weight in staying chases, at least it is very hard to do, so we’ve changed tactics slightly.
“Anything can happen in a National. He actually made a bit of a mistake at the first on Saturday because when you drop him in he can lose a bit of concentration, and that will be out biggest worry on the second circuit.
“If he’s still there on the second circuit and can get into a rhythm and find a bit of space he’ll definitely keep galloping.” Meanwhile Call The Cops is likely to be given the chance to follow up his impressive win at Doncaster on Saturday in the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival next Wednesday.
The Nicky Henderson-trained sixyear- old was having just his second start of the season and was expected to improve for the outing on his first run over three miles.
However, he ran away with jockey Andrew Tinkler throughout and bounded clear to win by five lengths.
“I’d gone away for a few days in Tenerife and couldn’t believe watching it on TV how easily he won,” said owner Matt Morgan.
“We thought Batavir would take a lot of beating and that we’d need the run, but the favourite didn’t run his race and our lad loved being back on goodish ground. I think that’s the key to him and conditions should be similar at Chltenham “Nicky says he’s absolutely bouncing and that he didn’t have a hard race.
“All things being equal, and everything going to plan, I reckon we’ll be running.”