Long Run has the John Smith's Grand National as a possible back-up plan if he is unable to contest the Gold Cup next March.

The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old is due to reappear in the Betfair Chase at Haydock next month, after which all roads will again lead to the Cheltenham Festival.

Long Run won the Gold Cup two seasons ago but could only finish third to Synchronised in March.

Should he suffer a setback, however, connections could instead point Long Run towards the National next April.

Owner Robert-Waley Cohen told the Daily Express: "The plan is to run in the Betfair Chase at the end of November followed by the King George and Cheltenham Gold.

"The Grand National is an option if he does not make the Gold Cup.

"He definitely will not be running in both races.

"I believe horses should not run again if they have run in the Gold Cup.

"Regardless of where you finish, they have a very hard race."