Nigel Twiston-Davies is hoping Count Meribel can take his 100 per cent record over fences to three when he faces three rivals in the Noel Novices’ Chase at Ascot on Friday.
The six-year-old had a good first half to the last campaign when hurdling, only for his from to taper off afterwards.
He has made a flying start to his chasing career with wins at Carlisle and Cheltenham, and bids to keep up the good work in this Grade Two contest.
Twiston-Davies feels it is an open race and there is little to choose between the four runners.
“It looks a very even race. They’re all rated about the same. I hope he can win it, but it’s not a walkover,” said the Naunton handler.
Vinndication is unbeaten after a bumper success, three over hurdles and winning on his fencing debut at Carlisle.
Trainer Kim Bailey reports the five-year-old to be in tip-top shape as he steps up in company.
“I was delighted with him at Carlisle. He’s a horse that doesn’t show a huge amount at home,” Bailey told At The Races.
“He’s an idle horse. He will never do more than he has to go and do.
“He’s got a great attitude to the way he races. I was impressed by his run, but the form has not been franked. There’s really nothing come out of the race that has done much since, unfortunately, but the important thing was he won on the day.
“He schooled on Wednesday with David Bass and it all went well. He likes soft ground and he’s going to get it. All the boxes are ticked now. The only question is if he is good enough.”
Lil Rockerfeller is turned out quickly after exiting at the second fence at Cheltenham last Friday.
Neil King’s front-runner had won his first three races over the bigger obstacles before blotting his copybook and connections will be looking for a confidence-boosting clear round.
The talented stayer had won his first three races over fences at Uttoxeter, Cheltenham and Exeter before his blip.
Completing the foursome is the Philip Hobbs-trained Jerrysback, who got off the mark over the bigger obstacles at Bangor three weeks ago.