Bewleys Berry enjoyed two encouraging spins around the Grand National course last season and should go well again in the Becher Chase at Aintree on Sunday.
In the early days, trainer Howard Johnson and owner Graham Wylie harboured Cheltenham Gold Cup aspirations for their chaser but he has not quite proved of that calibre.
However, he is still a very good chaser on his day, as he showed when chasing home the well-handicapped Eurotrek in this race 12 months ago.
As Bewleys Berry demonstrated such a willing aptitude for the track, Johnson planned a raid on the Grand National itself.
The nine-year-old was going great guns until he crumpled on landing at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit.
But having reportedly worked like a dream over National-style fences at home, the stage seems set for a successful seasonal bow in the trusty hands of Denis O’Regan.
Johnson can bring up a double with Cedrus Libani in the Amberleigh House Novices’ Chase, a race he won last season with Lennon.
This six-year-old could not have made a more impressive start to his new career in beating useful duo Modicum and Benetwood at Carlisle.
Jumping with great speed and alacrity, he made every yard of the running and looked a smart recruit.
Cedrus Libani was thought of highly enough over hurdles to run in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and could take high rank over fences.
Algenon, twice a winner over fences at Newton Abbot in the summer, looks hard to oppose in the Jeff Whalley 65th Birthday Celebration Classified Chase at Towcester.
The seven-year-old may be one of the lesser lights at Philip Hobbs’ stable but he is obviously paying his way at the smaller tracks.
Pat Murphy can strike with Pedlers Bridge in the toteexacta Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Plumpton.
The five-year-old, by St Leger winner Moonax and a half-brother to a winner over three and a quarter miles, has been crying out for longer distances.
He shaped well over two miles three furlongs at Newton Abbot on his latest start in May and can go close despite the lack of a recent outing.
Carl Llewellyn has been patient with Roll Along but he finally takes the wraps off him in the totesport.com Novices’ Chase.
Unbeaten in three bumpers, he also won his first two starts over hurdles before being upped in class.
He was not disgraced behind Wichita Lineman in the Grade One Challow Hurdle but ran disappointingly in a handicap at Aintree’s National meeting.
Chasing always looked likely to be his game though and he is an exciting recruit.