Our Catching Pigeons insider reckons there could be a turn-up in Sunday's Arkle Trophy Trial at Cheltenham.
Slate House (2.25 Cheltenham)
Slate House did us a great favour when he won here at the first meeting of the season and he can follow up in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday. Colin Tizzard has never made any secret of the fact of his high regard for this gelding and he made two predictions after a troubled campaign last season. He was confident the son of Presenting was back to his very best for his comeback effort, and that he would try his luck in this valuable event, if things went according to plan. The crystal ball had clearly been well polished. Jumping like a veteran, Slate House could not have delivered a more impressive display, and even though the handicapper has taken due note, he will still take some beating if, as expected, he turns up in the same form.
Minella Warrior (1.15 Cheltenham)
Minella Warrior could be the value in the mallardjewellers.com Novices Chase. Kim Bailey has a very promising clutch of high class youngsters for fences this season, and Minella Warrior advertised his claims going forward with a creditable third to Mulcahys Hill here last month. Although he has ground to make up with the runner-up Wholestone, he will be sharper for the run and his abundant stamina will come into play on the softer ground.
Happygolucky (12.05 Cheltenham)
Happygolucky should also go close for Bailey in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. This rates a fairly hefty step up in class for the former Irish pointer, but he could not have been more impressive on his British debut at Stratford, where he ran away from a respectable field in the closing stages after bold jumping performance from the front. The fact that the runner up Mercy Mercy Me was rated 127 and was 10 lengths adrift suggests Happygolucky would not have to improve too much from the outing to be a real threat here.
Potters Legend (1.50 Cheltenham)
Lucy Wadham has her team in great nick and Potters Legend can make the most of his lightweight in the BetVictor Smart Cards Handicap Chase. The nine year old has had his problems and missed last season, but he shaped well on his return from a 577 day absence in a decent handicap hurdle here last month, and looks nicely handicapped on a mark some way lower than his career high.
Peaches And Cream (3.30 Cheltenham)
Gavin Cromwell is always a man to note when he sends one over to the big meetings here. We can pass on a whisper for the consistent Peaches And Cream in the BetVictor Intermediate Handicap Hurdle.
Hear No Evil (3.00 Cheltenham)
Cromwell's compatriot John Magnier has the Dan Skelton-trained Hear No Evil in the Spinal Injuries Asscociation Big Buck's Handicap Hurdle, and a big run is also expected from him. Lightly raced, he will be fitter for his creditable fourth at Aintree last month, on his first outing since a win at Catterick in January of last year.
Blackcastle Storm (12.25 Lingfield)
Richard Hughes' Blackcastle Storm can see off a decent looking field of unexposed talent in the Ladbrokes Novice Stakes at Lingfield. There was a lot to like about his debut effort behind Tom Collins at Newmarket 24 days ago, when he only faded in the closing stages after taking the lead two out. This extra furlong will suit and he will know more of what is required here.
Saint Calvados (2.25 Cheltenham)
Saint Calvados has sidestepped the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday and should reward the move with victory in the Shloer Chase 24 hours later. Harry Whittington did not want to risk his stable star over two miles five furlongs with topweight in the big race, despite his love of testing ground. If he can live up to the form of his comeback win in a competitive handicap here last month, he should more than hold his own against his three high class rivals.
Rouge Vif (1.50 Cheltenham)
Rouge Vif can initiate a big race double for Whittington in the Grade 2 racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices Chase. The Sageburg gelding developed into a smart novice hurdler last season, and looked a very promising chaser when beating Baddesley Knight by seven lengths in a Market Rasen Beginners' Chase a month ago. His jumping was very assured for the most part that day, and that should stand him in good stead over these more demanding obstacles.
Shanroe Santos (2.40 Fontwell)
Shanroe Santos, a stablemate of Potters Legend, is back down to mark only 1lb higher than when he produced a good staying performance to win this prize 12 months ago, and he is fancied to follow up in the MansionBet Southern National Handicap Chase at Fontwell.
Battle Of Ideas (12.55 Fontwell)
Battle Of Ideas, a winner at Newton Abbot back in June, has been pleasing the Tizzard team since his return from a late Summer break, and looks nicely handicapped in the John Rogerson Memorial Novices Handicap Chase.