Connections toyed with the idea of running him in the Cheltenham Gold Cup but, following a preparation they weren’t entirely happy with, he was rerouted to the Ryanair Chase, which he won with authority.
Rather than taking on Cue Card in the Gold Cup at this meeting, he is being dropped back to the minimum trip and nothing less than a victory is expected.
While the classy Special Tiara will ensure there is no hiding place, Vautour could be exceptional over this trip, and can justify skinny odds in style.
The aforementioned Special Tiara can fill the runner-up spot, though the fragile Simonsig is an interesting runner for Nicky Henderson.
Enda Bolger has won five of the last six runnings of the Fr Sean Breen Memorial, over the cross-country chase, and he can enhance that impressive record with Wish Ye Didnt, who gets the nap to follow up last year’s success.
The seven-year-old mare would appear to be below her best this term, but all her runs this season have come on heavy ground and she has no form of any great consequence in such conditions.
The return to fast ground should prompt a return to her best, and she can prevail today.
Yorkhill is hard to oppose in the Champion Novice Hurdle over two miles.
Despite failing to settle in a modestly run race over two and a half miles at Aintree, his talent allowed him come out on top. On today’s quicker conditions in a race which should be run at a faster pace, the exciting gelding can be expected to settle a little better, and can confirm his status as the most exciting novice hurdler of the season.
There are question marks surrounding the claims of many of the main protagonists in the Growise Champion Novice Chase, over three miles and a furlong, but the lightly-raced Henryville can take the step up in class in his stride.
Harry Fry’s horse reached a mark of 156 over hurdles, and ran the race of his career when carrying top weight into fourth place in last season’s Pertemps Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. His only defeat in three runs over fences came when a fast-finishing second behind former Cheltenham Festival winner Irish Cavalier.
He is yet to tackle this trip over fences, but should be suited to it. He has a little to prove at this level, but has the scope to make the grade, and is preferred to favourite Outlander and Southfield Royale.