Views from connections ahead of the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday.
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Grand Vision warms up for a crack at the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham with a run in the Burns Pet Nutrition Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday.
Trainer Colin Tizzard had hoped to saddle the eight-year-old in a two-and-three-quarter-mile handicap at Sandown the same day but with the hurdles races abandoned in Esher, the Dorset handler has switched him to the Carmarthenshire venue.
Grand Vision was a promising novice hurdler two seasons ago but had to have plenty of time off after he was injured when third in the Albert Bartlett at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
Despite being pulled up on his return at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, Grand Vision put a highly encouraging effort when second to Uncle Jimmy in a series qualifier for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at Warwick three weeks ago.
"He jarred himself up in the Albert Bartlett. He had last year off and we've only just got him back," said Tizzard.
"He ran a nice race last time and I think two and a half miles on heavy ground is absolutely fine for him.
"He loves heavy ground. It's a handicap and he's a progressive horse. If we can get him back to his Albert Bartlett third he could be all right.
"We qualified him for the Pertemps the other day and we just want to get one more run into him before we go to Cheltenham. This weekend was the obvious time to get a race into him so we entered him twice."
Dai Walters, the founder and chairman of Ffos Las, took this race with Oscar Whisky in 2011 when it was a conditions race over two miles, and tries again with Whisper.
Also trained by Nicky Henderson, the six-year-old was a seven-length winner at Newbury five weeks ago.
"I hope Whisper runs all right. The horse is spot on. He will make a nice chaser in the future," said Walters.
"Hopefully he's got a good chance. It's going to be wet, but we've got fresh ground."
Whisper had finished third to Saphir Du Rheu at Sandown in December on his penultimate outing and enjoys a big turnaround in the weights.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, Saphir Du Rheu has gone up 28lb for winning his last two starts and is burdened with top weight in this limited handicap.
Harry Derham guided the five-year-old to his latest victory at Kempton recently and the 5lb claimer keeps the ride.
"He's got 11st 10lb. It's a limited handicap and Harry is taking 5lb off so he'll only actually carry 11st 5lb," Ditcheat-based Nicholls told At The Races.
"He's gone up another 13lb for winning the other day, so he's got to improve again, but I'm very pleased with him.
"He's progressive, he'll love the ground, but he has got to step up again."
Alaivan has not lived up to some of his performances earlier in his career, including when he was third to Soldatino in the 2010 Triumph Hurdle for Irish trainer Edward O'Grady.
Now with Jonjo O'Neill, the eight-year-old was a good second to Quick Decisson at Wincanton two weeks ago and connections feel he has place claims.
"He ran respectably the last day," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.
"He stayed on, kept going. He's probably up in class a bit, but hopefully he might get in the money."