Nick Robson picks out his best bets for Sunday including Paul Nicholls' unexposed five-year-old Greaneteen in the novice hurdle at Fontwell.
NAP: Greaneteen (2.00 Fontwell)
Next Best: Charmant (2.40 Sedgefield)
Greaneteen looks a youngster with a future for Paul Nicholls and can defy a penalty in the Chancellor Of The Formchecker "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Fontwell.
Bought from France after one promising effort for master trainer Guillaume Macaire, he was then given plenty of time to strengthen up at Ditcheat.
Making his first appearance for over 500 days in a hot novice hurdle at Sandown in December, he shaped well enough in sixth.
He showed the benefit of that next time out, though, when looking a different proposition at Exeter on New Year's Day.
Travelling powerfully throughout, he drew clear effortlessly to win by eight lengths from one of Harry Fry's who had won a bumper. It takes an above-average novice to defy a 7lb penalty, but he looks like one who should be up to it.
First Figaro is back in much calmer waters in the Chancellor Of The Formchecker Handicap Hurdle.
Almost nine when snapped up by current connections out of Dermot Weld's yard, he went some way to repaying the outlay when winning on his debut for Venetia Williams at Hereford.
He was then thrown in at the deep end for a valuable event at Ascot, and while he cut little ice the handicapper has since lopped 4lb off. Back in a smaller field and down in grade, he might win again.
Richard Johnson is obviously not one to hold a grudge as he is back on Umndeni in the Jamie Snowden Racing Club Maiden Hurdle.
Johnson was unseated at the start by Philip Hobbs' five-year-old last week and was badly winded, causing him to miss a couple of days.
Previously Umndeni had shaped well behind the smart Rathhill and a repeat of that effort should see him oblige.
James Ewart has high hopes for Charmant and he can continue his progression with a win in the Brian Ellison Racing Club Chase at Sedgefield.
No better than a run-of-the-mill hurdler, fences have unlocked his potential and he has won both his starts to date over the bigger obstacles.
Sent off favourite over this course and distance of two miles in November he was not extended to win by 13 lengths. Upped in grade at Kelso last time out he was even more impressive and looks well up to defying top weight.
Perhaps crucially Brian Hughes has been on board for both wins and remains in the saddle, which given he virtually has the pick of rides in any race in the north is a ringing endorsement.
Phil Kirby can do little wrong at present and it is worth backing Nicely Indeed to follow up a last-time-out win in the Racebets Money Back 2nd All Races Handicap Hurdle.
He is unlikely to be improving at the age of nine, but he finished his race off really strongly on Boxing Day and the fact there is an extra furlong to travel this time might help him offset the 7lb rise.
Sporting Life tips
FONTWELL: 1.30 First Figaro, 2.00 GREANETEEN (NAP), 2.30 Chivers, 3.00 Umndeni, 3.30 Remember Forever, 4.00 Urbanist.
NAAS: 1.20 Runrized, 1.50 Espoir D'Allen, 2.20 Discorama, 2.50 Dream Conti, 3.20 Western Sea, 3.50 Getaway Kid, 4.20 Spoken For.
SEDGEFIELD: 1.10 Flowery, 1.40 Danboru, 2.10 Deputy Jones, 2.40 Charmant, 3.10 Nicely Indeed, 3.40 Dartford Warbler, 4.10 Copt Hill.
DOUBLE: Greaneteen and Charmant.