CARTMEL-trained Highland Lodge continued his good form at the Becher Chase with a third-placed finish at the weekend.

The 11 year old contested for the lead throughout the race at Aintree, before being pipped late on to eventual winner Blaklion and then succumbed to a challenge from Last Samurai who pinched second.

Trainer James Moffatt said the whole team was full of pride for Highland Lodge, who was ridden by Henry Brooke.

"It was a very strong race and we're immensely proud to be associated with him," he said.

"I admire the horse to be honest. He's not raced since April so it takes a lot to get ready, but he's a brilliant jumper and if you find out what he wants, which is to not race too much, he's great.

"He's a superb horse and we're absolutely thrilled with him."

Third place on Saturday came on the back of a second place the year before and the race win in 2015, with Moffatt believing the large fences on the Grand National course particularly suit Highland Lodge.

"Essentially he's a horse that's a bit of a bully and likes to be in charge of things," he said. "He gets in charge through his jumping and in the last mile and a half he started to assert himself and his confidence built up.

"The key thing is the National fences do sometimes bring out the best in horses."

Moffatt added now that the team at the Cartmel Stables and owners at Cheveley Park Stud would take some time before assessing what to do next with Highland Lodge.

"You have to give it a week to let things settle and then have a good chat," he said. "When you're in the enclosures at Aintree there's a lot things going through people's minds.

"It's one step at a time and the horse's interests are absolutely paramount, but we're going to try and outline a plan for him."