Henry Dwyer never expected Willie McCarthy to seek a release from Budd Fox in the Grand Annual Steeplechase, but any prospect of it was ruled out when Stern Idol was scratched from Thursday's feature.

That means the star jockey will fulfil his commitment to the Dwyer-trained Budd Fox in the 5500-metre marathon at Warrnambool.

McCarthy is the regular rider of Stern Idol, who won an unforgettable Brierly Steeplechase on Tuesday, and was paid up for when Grand Annual Steeplechase acceptances were taken on Monday.

But Stern Idol's trainer Ciaron Maher scratched the import just before lunchtime on Wednesday.

"Willie was pretty happy to be on Budd Fox regardless I think, he's been with him right through and been doing all his schooling and trials," Dwyer said.

"We're happy to have Willie on."

Budd Fox is one of two runners for Dwyer in the $400,000 event with Brungle Bertie also engaged, with Lee Horner to take the ride.

Budd Fox was favourite for the 2022 Grand Annual only to be scratched on race morning.

He then suffered an injury, which kept him away from the races until October last year.

He has built up to this year's Grand Annual with three runs last spring and two lead-up runs this autumn – a last placing on the flat at Cranbourne before a 3200m steeplechase win at Pakenham on April 14.

"He was really good at Pakenham, we thought at it might be a bit short for him, but he was able to do it," Dwyer said.

"He gets the chance to redeem himself from two years ago when he was a late scratching on race morning.

"At the time I thought we'd look after him and his time will come. But we missed a year and then another six months goes by, so it's been two years, but he's here and he's in good order.

"I'd like to think he's a genuine chance in a very even race."

Budd Fox, who will carry 64kg, is a $7 chance in a market that was reshaped after Stern Idol's withdrawal with Bell Ex One now $3.80 top pick.

Brungle Bertie, who has 67kg, occupies a place on the $10 line.