KINGSON (4.45) will appreciate the return to Wolverhampton and is fancied to land the 1m 1f handicap.
Richard Fahey's four-year-old scored over course and distance last month and the subsequent 5lb rise is negated by Billy Garrity's claim. Kingson wasn't disgraced 12 days later when running fourth at Southwell but is probably more at home on this slicker surface.
AL DANCER (1.50) has bright prospects of giving Nigel Twiston-Davies his second Caspian Caviar Gold Cup scalp at Cheltenham.
The grey filled third spot behind Coole Cody in last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and is fancied to turn the tables on revised terms. Paul Nicholls has won this prestigious prize five times and his top weight Master Tommytucker has headed ante-post lists on the back of a 15 lengths romp in a Graduation Chase at Haydock. He could be improving but Al Dancer beat him almost three lengths at Newton Abbot in October and is now 9lb better off.
Cepage, Windsor Avenue and Chatham Street Lad, representing Michael Winters’ County Cork stable, will have their supporters. Midnight Shadow is better treated over fences than hurdles and although Sue Smith’s seven-year-old faded out of contention tamely at Aintree that comeback run was badly needed. He has won twice at Cheltenham and represents each-way value. William Hill and Paddy Power go six places.
IBLEO (1.15) has been found a suitable opening by Venetia Williams in the Spreadex Handicap Chase over two miles. The gelding missed an engagement last weekend but is ready to roll after being pipped by Amoola Gold at Ascot at the end of October. Ibleo was a dual winner last winter on soft/heavy, so any more rain would not pose a problem. Newbury winner Zanza and Sky Pirate, balloted out of the Caspian Caviar Handicap Chase, will serve it up to the selection.
The White Mouse will be a popular pick in the 2m 4f mares’ handicap hurdle after leaving behind a lengthy 595-day absence to score readily at Wincanton. Lucy Wadham’s six-year-old is up 8lb and top weight INDEFATIGABLE (3.35) can prove a doughty opponent. Paul Webber’s gelding landed the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle here in March and will strip sharper for his comeback third at Kempton 19 days ago.
Nicky Richards saddled My Old Age to win the 3m bet365 Handicap Chase at Doncaster last year and now relies on CHIDSWELL (3.15). The gelding has scored over 3m 2f here in the past and ran third to talented Ok Corral on his last visit to Town Moor. A recent pipe-opener at Kelso should have put him spot-on for this assignment and Chidswell makes plenty of each-way appeal around 8-1. Paddy Power are paying four places.