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Red Marauder's long-awaited return ahead of a possible tilt at the Martell Grand National may be delayed for a couple of weeks.

Norman Mason's exciting chaser, off the track since November 1998, is entered for the Monkton Chase at Wetherby on Thursday.

Mason's assistant Richard Guest said: "We'd like to run him this week but the race might just come a touch too soon.

"We'll decide tomorrow and if he can't make it then we'll look at bringing him back at Ayr or Cheltenham at the end of the month."

Red Marauder has been sidelined as a result of being jarred up after an impressive victory in Ascot's First National Bank Gold Cup Chase.

But Guest said: "He's in great shape now and I'm sure the injury hasn't had any lasting effects. I'm looking forward to his return."

Red Marauder is now viewed more as a possible Martell Grand National contender rather than a candidate for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.

"It's true there was talk of him going for Cheltenham last year," said Guest. "But he's only rated around 135 and would have to make a lot of improvement.

"At this stage a more likely target for him has to be the Grand National."