VIVA COLONIA will bid to get over his Cheltenham Festival blues when going for glory in the Topham Chase at Aintree next month.
Norton trainer Brian Ellison has targeted the nine-year-old for the £120,000 contest, on April 4, after he finished 11th in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase over two miles at Prestbury Park last week.
Viva Colonia was impeded several times during that race and Ellison declared him to have been "very unlucky".
He had previously chased home Mr Moonshine in a competitive two and a half mile handicap at Musselburgh on New Year's Day and started this season with a fine third to Conquisto in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase over the Mildmay Course fences at Aintree last October.
"Three horses fell in front of him at different stages of the race," said Ellison of Viva Colonia's Cheltenham exploits. "He had to swerve one at the top of hill, one fell before that and then he was brought to a halt at the last.
"He would have definitely finished in the first six if it wasn't for any of those mishaps. He has won over two and a half miles, so the step up in trip won't be a problem and I don't have any qualms about his jumping. He is always careful and jumps like a buck.
"Cheltenham is really the only time he has had his ground, so as long as it's good ground he will be fine."