Keiran Burke reports Hunt Ball to be "in the form of his life" as he bids for a Cheltenham Festival double in the Byrne Group Plate on day three of the meeting.
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The eight-year-old defied 12st to win the novices' handicap chase at last year's fixture and will again be saddled with top weight of 11st 12lb in this two-mile-five-furlong contest.
Hunt Ball will not only be stepping back in trip in the Grade Three race but also down in class after contesting races such as the Argento Chase over the winter.
Burke and owner Anthony Knott had hoped Hunt Ball could develop into a Gold Cup contender but after failing to stay an extended three-miles-one-furlong in the Argento, they have lowered their sights.
"The drying ground is definitely in our favour and it will be fresh ground as well tomorrow - it's nice to see that going our way finally," Burke said.
"He carried plenty of weight to win at the Festival last year, so he's proven on that score and also proven round the track and at the Festival, which quite a few winners on the first day were, so that's a nice boost for our confidence.
"He's in the form of his life at the moment. He looks a million dollars and did some nice pieces of work last week.
"We took him down to the beach to freshen him up and we couldn't be happier with him."
Hunt Ball is the general second favourite for the 24-runner heat with David Pipe's Ballynagour leading the market after his 19-length stroll at Warwick last month.
Burke rates the chances of Paul Webber's Cantlow and the Alan King-trained Walkon higher than those of Ballynagour, but believes all will struggle to beat his contender.
"I'm not sure Ballynagour is the biggest danger, I think something like Cantlow or Walkon could run a big race," he said.
"There's lots of good horses in there but ours has been placed at Grade One level and is running in a handicap here, so it will take a very good horse to beat ours."
King runs two with Bless The Wings also lining up and he is the choice of jockey Wayne Hutchinson leaving Paddy Brennan to get the leg up on Walkon.
The Barbury Castle handler believes Walkon, who was last seen when pulling up in the Cleeve Hurdle at the track in January, holds the better chance of his duo.
"Wayne had the choice and, while personally I would have plumped for Walkon, he has opted to stay loyal to Bless The Wings and his owners, and I take my hat off to a man with principles," the trainer told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"Bless The Wings has done well this season, enjoying back-to-back winners before Christmas, and he likes the track, as does Walkon, who ran two super races here in the autumn.
"I have booked Paddy Brennan for Walkon, and he came down to school him on Monday and get a feel of the horse. I would not swap Walkon for anything else in the race."