Carruthers, the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup hero, could return to the scene of his finest hour by running in a veterans’ handicap chase at Newbury on March 1.

The 11-year-old gelding, from Mark Bradstock’s Letcombe Bassett stables, near Wantage, had been on course to defend his West Wales National crown at Ffos Las last Saturday.

But Bradstock decided he wasn’t quite spot-on following his gallant second to Shotgun Paddy on his seasonal reappearance in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick last month.

“He is absolutely fine,” he said. “I just think with the exertions and everything like that he would probably have been 95 per cent OK, but not 100 per cent.

“There is a veterans’ chase at Newbury on March 1 which we will probably aim for.”

Carruthers’ big target this season is the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 26.

And Bradstock added: “I think everybody is very keen to see him jump those railway fences.”

Meanwhile, the Letcombe Bassett handler hasn’t ruled out Coneygree, Carruthers’ half-brother, running this term after being sidelined with a leg injury.

He said: “I don’t think he will probably run this season, but he is absolutely fine and we will certainly see whether we run him in a hurdle race.”