James Best dislocated his shoulder at Doncaster in December, and that has left him fighting to be fit to ride the Aintree specialist in the world’s greatest steeplechase.
“I’m making good progress from the injury, and, hopefully, I should be ready in time for the Grand National,” said Best.
“When it happened, my biggest fear was that I might need surgery and that I’d be off for several months.
“But I couldn’t have asked for a better target to aim for than riding Walk in the Mill in the Grand National again.
“I grew up watching the Grand National as a kid and to have ridden in the race last year and to have the chance to do it again is a privilege and a dream come true.”
He added: “Provided Walk in the Mill gets a run I’ll be touching every bit of wood I see between now and Grand National Day on April 4.”
Under Best, the ten-year-old put his name in lights, landing back to wins over Aintree’s formidable fences in the Randox Health Becher Chase.
“It’s hard to explain why Walk in the Mill saves his best for Aintree and it was an unbelievable achievement to win the Becher chase in 2018 and last year,” added Best.
“He just seems to enjoy himself round there and he gave me a fantastic spin in last year’s Grand National.
“It was a lovely ride and he was very gutsy to keep galloping to finish fourth.” (Grand National)
Best, whose career-best season came in 2013-14 when he recorded 25 winners, added: “I can’t wait for the Grand National and we’ve got to be very hopeful.”
Owned by Dido Harding who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Cool Dawn, Walk in the Mill is trained by Yorkshireman Robert Walford.
The former jockey won the first Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in 2005 before joining the training ranks seven years ago.
Walford said: “He’s a great horse and Walk in the Mill just loves it around Aintree and stays all day.
“The four miles plus in the Grand National will suit him better than the Becher Chase, so hopefully it is all systems go for Aintree and the Grand National.”