Paul Nicholls is considering giving Pearl Swan a racecourse gallop before a potential reappearance in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 9.
His five-year-old hasn't been seen on a racetrack since falling at the final flight in last season's JCB Triumph Hurdle and has been nibbled at in the Stan James Champion Hurdle market of late.
The champion trainer feels he's potentially better than his current handicap mark of 146 but does fear the Newbury race could just come too soon for him.
Writing in his exclusive Betfair column he said: "I would really like to get Pearl Swan to the race - it is the UK's most valuable handicap hurdle after all - and he is coming along well at the moment.
"In fact, this morning we gave him his first serious school since his fall in the Triumph last season. I would like to think he would develop into better than a 146-rated horse by the end of the season, but I still have a fear that Newbury will come a week or so too soon for him.
"But we are pressing on with him, and it could be that I get him to the race fit enough to do himself justice but not fully primed - very much like Zarkandar last year. I would certainly settle for the same result and it is certainly possible, as he is still in the Champion Hurdle, too, and we like him a lot.
"If possible, I would like get a racecourse gallop into him in the next 10 days, or maybe take in a jumpers' bumper if I can get him into one of those."