Having found only Tysou too strong when carrying a big weight in last season’s Victor Chandler at Sandown, the progressive eight-year-old was not unfancied at 14-1 when thrown in at the deep end at the Cheltenham Festival.
He got no further than the third on that occasion, however, as he had the misfortune to cannon into Kauto Star after the Paul Nicholls-trained favourite hit the turf.
Dempsey has always been very highly regarded, and as he showed real signs of developing into a top-notcher last term, he makes considerable appeal in what is admittedly a well-contested and intriguing renewal. While it would be hard to rule out the chances of a host of his chief rivals, Dempsey has proven his ability to go well fresh and appears to have conditions to suit.
On a card which features a host of promising novices, including the highly-regarded Denman, other attractive betting opportunities are harder to unearth.
Doc Row rates a solid choice in the williamhillradio.com Handicap Chase run over a trip just shy of three miles.
He showed a decent level of form in novice hurdles in January before being pulled up on his final start in a handicap at Cheltenham. His future was always going to be over fences though, and the yard has introduced a couple of similar types to great effect in recent weeks, including Abragante who would have gone close at Cheltenham had he not tipped up at the last.