Superb Story can add the totepool Hogmaneigh Handicap Hurdle (2.50) to his big Cheltenham Festival win at Musselburgh.
Young Skelton pulled off a fine training performance to bring him back from a lengthy lay-off to prevail in the ultra competitive County Hurdle at the big meeting, but suffered the reverse side of the coin when the gelding had to be pulled up in the Galway Hurdle in the summer.
Given plenty to of time again to recover from those exertions, Superb Story is back in great heart and connections have long targeted this valuable objective. He still looks well handicapped despite a big weight and he’s the type to continue to improve in readiness for a return trip to Prestbury Park in March.
Vyta Du Roc was not beaten that far in the Hennessy on his return to fences five weeks ago and he looks to have found a good opportunity in the Watch Live Racing On BetBright.com Handicap Chase (12.50) at Cheltenham.
Henderson opted to give the Welsh National and a return bout with Hennessy hero Native River a miss with the eight-year-old in favour of this less demanding test and the move should pay dividends. A smart novice last season, he is back in A1 nick at home.
Whisper is a difficult horse to read at times, but he seems on great terms with himself at the moment and should maintain his unbeaten record this season in the BetBright Dipper Novices Chase (1.25).
Henderson has had plenty of problems with this high-class staying hurdler over the past 12 months, and he was only hopeful he might prevail on his chasing bow at Exeter on this day 12 months ago. However, Whisper never fired at all. Once again, expectations were not that high on his return here last month, but that was only down to a lack of peak fitness.
Under a fine ride from Davy Russell, he jumped nicely and overcame the pre-race fears by galloping on strongly up the hill to notch his first win over larger obstacles. He took some useful scalps along the way and the Seven Barrows shrewdies are now looking for him to step up another level, especially after an accomplished schooling session under Noel Fehily on Mandown in Upper Lambourn on Friday morning.
Stablemate O O Seven will also go well but the Nicholls-trained Clan des Obeaux should be the toughest nut to crack.
Lough Derg Leader can emulate former stablemate Singlefarmpayment and win the Betbright Casino Handicap Hurdle (2.35) for Tom Lacey.
The six-year-old has made great strides north in the ratings so far this season and should be more than able to overcome a lumpy 11lb hike in his assessment for an impressive win at Doncaster last month.
The concluding EBF Stallions & Cheltenham Pony Club NH Flat Race looks a fascinating renewal, with some of the top trainers around represented, but perhaps Newmarket mayor John Berry will be able to strike a blow with White Valiant.
The son of Youmzain overcame odds of 80/1 to win on his racecourse bow at Huntingdon, scoring in great style under Daryl Jacob.
Jacob is required to ride Daphne Du Clos for Henderson and Potensis Bloodstock on Sunday but Davy Russell is an eyecatching booking for Berry, who looks to have a very useful tool to go to war with.
The very much in-form Fehily forsakes Cheltenham for the delights of Haldon Hill and Exeter, and he should kick the afternoon off on the right note with the highly-rated and impressive bumper winner Neon Hill in the opening Passage House Inn Topsham ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (12.40).
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