JEDD O'Keeffe has his sights set on Aintree with beaten Stayers' Hurdle favourite Sam Spinner.

The Long Walk Hurdle winner could only finish fifth behind Penhill on Thursday after attempting to make all the running and O'Keeffe feels a little help in that regard would have made a big difference.

"I thought he ran very well but I don't think he ran quite to his best," said the Middleham handler.

"I don't think the way the race was run suited him as he would have appreciated some company in front.

"The horse was probably a little inexperienced for making all on a stage like that. If he'd had some company on the first circuit a stronger pace would have seen him in a better light.

"Whether he would have been good enough to beat the likes of Penhill, I don't know, but he's a still a horse that can improve again next year."

How Sam Spinner fares in the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle at Aintree on April 14 is likely to decide whether he stays over timber or goes chasing.

"We've still got the option of schooling him over a fence - we're in two minds about that - as he's still a very exciting prospect," said O'Keeffe.

"The plan is to go to Aintree, the track there will suit. Ideally we'd like some company up front so we can help force it with something else or have something to aim at.

"Depending on how he does at Aintree, the French Champion Hurdle is still a possible because if we do consider a novice chase campaign I'd probably prefer to finish him sooner so he can get valuable experience over fences in the autumn.

"If we keep him over hurdles there aren't too many early-season opportunities, so it's still up in the air."