Irish Saint is heaven sent at Kempton
Irish Saint can take advantage of his falling mark by bagging the glory in the BetBright Chase at Kempton this afternoon.
Rated 153 at the end of his novice season in 2014-15, Irish Saint boasts some excellent bits of form having finished fourth in the Ryanair and third in the Mildmay during that campaign.
Connections would obviously have been hoping he could kick on the following term, but Paul Nicholls was forced to rule him out for the entire campaign through injury and he only returned to the fray at Cheltenham in October.
Fifth over hurdles on that return, Irish Saint then fell short when upped to Listed company over three miles back over fences at Ascot and again at Sandown at the beginning of February.
It would be easy to merely say he just does not get three miles judged on those two runs, but if his stamina is to be eked out anywhere, Kempton would be the place.
The handicapper has eased Irish Saint another couple of pounds for his Sandown eclipse and his current perch of 146 makes the eight-year-old an attractive prospect indeed.
Nicky Henderson can mop up in the two Cheltenham trial hurdles, with Charli Parcs an obvious favourite for the BetBright Genius Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.
He made quite a splash on his British bow at this track in December, winning by eight lengths, and it will be a surprise if he cannot follow up on the way to next month's Festival.
River Wylde is two for two over obstacles this term and can add another triumph in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle.
Henderson has him in the Supreme and a win here would see his current odds of 33/1 slashed.
Shotgun Paddy is another whose handicap mark is slowly slipping and he should have everything to his liking in the Betfred Eider Handicap Chase at Newcastle.
The 10-year-old has not won for over three years now but he is always thereabouts in marathon events such as this, so the handicapper has offered little respite.
He had no luck at Cheltenham on his seasonal bow as he was nearly taken out by a loose horse, but he enjoyed better fortune when third in the Classic Chase at Warwick last month.
Beaten 10 lengths by One For Arthur, Shotgun Paddy was caught for toe a bit in the finish, but a further 2lb ease in the ratings after that performance is certainly a bonus.
He loves cut in the ground and following Storm Doris, conditions at Newcastle will certainly be on the testing side.
Mutakayyef is an obvious choice for the Betway Winter Derby Stakes at Lingfield, but given he is upwards of 9lb better than the rest on ratings, he is hard to oppose.
Admittedly the fact he has been off the track since last September is not ideal, but that run did yield third place behind the great Tepin in a Grade One at Woodbine in Canada.
Nap: Irish Saint
Double: Charli Parcs
Treble: River Wylde
Yankee: Shotgun Paddy