Trainer Kim Bailey says a patient approach will be crucial if he wants to run Vinndication in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old has only raced twice this season, and he is now set to take a long break before returning at the end of 2020.
Vinndication started the season with a win in a Listed chase at Ascot in November, and he then enjoyed a 129-day rest before returning at the Cheltenham Festival.
Bailey’s charge finished fourth in the Ultima Handicap at Prestbury Park, with The Conditional eventually winning ahead of Kildisart and Discorama.
Bailey believes his stable star has what it takes to compete in a Gold Cup, but he has refused to overwork him ahead of the 2021 edition of the race.
After running out the winner of a Listed chase at Ascot on his comeback in November, Vinndication finished a respectable fourth under top-weight in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Bailey said: “I’ve always believed he has the potential to be a Gold Cup horse in time, and I’m not changing my mind now. He is still a young horse, and I’m sure there is further improvement.
“He ran an absolute stormer (at Cheltenham) for a horse that hadn’t run since November – and it put to bed the idea he can only run right-handed.
“He will be hard pushed to run in handicaps next season, but we kept him to them this season because we felt he was still handicapped to win races in them.
“We will have to look at better races next season, and it would be lovely if we were able to do that and get to the Gold Cup.”