Former Champion Hurdle contender Yanworth will get his first taste of Cheltenham’s cross country course on Friday.
Trained by Alan King in his younger days, he is now with Enda Bolger and got back to winning ways in the Risk Of Thunder Chase at Punchestown last month.
That was his first success since winning the Dipper Novices’ Chase on New Years’ Day 2018, and Bolger hopes to see him take to the fences with March in mind.
Yanworth will be joined by Josies Orders and relative youngster Blue Templar in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase.
“We run all three – Yanworth, Josies Orders and Blue Templar,” said Bolger.
“It was nice to see Yanworth win last time. He was dropping back a good bit in class compared to what he was used to, so it looked an ideal race for him.
“I’m looking forward to Friday to see how he’ll handle the Cheltenham course. Obviously he has a fair task on his hands giving away all the weight, but the main task is getting him round safe and sound.
“It’s been a bit of a rush with Josies as he had a touch of colic in September which meant we were held up, but he’d have been disappointed to have been left at home.
“Blue Templar has a nice weight, but he’s a pretty average horse compared to the other two. He’s got good cross-country form, but he wouldn’t be of the class of the other two.”
Bolger added: “I’m looking forward to a good run from Yanworth, hopefully he takes to the track. I think Josies will need the race and maybe Blue Templar is good enough to run into a place.”
Chic Name was third over the course and distance last month and his trainer Richard Hobson expects the seven-year-old to be in the shake-up again, as he looks to expose any chinks in Yanworth’s stamina.
“Yanworth has to prove he stays every bit of that trip, though I assume they think he will, but he has to give heaps of weight away to our chap, who is pretty smart round there,” said Hobson.
“We quietly think he’ll be in the shake-up and do us proud again.”
Elsewhere on the card, Kim Bailey’s Dandy Dan runs in the £60,000 Bet Victor Handicap Chase having finished second at Kelso on his seasonal bow.
“He’s ready to step up so we’ll see where we are after this,” said Bailey.
“He ran well at Ayr last season and Kelso last time, so I’m hopeful for a big run.”
Cogry and Singlefarmpayment, first and second in the race last year, also feature in a 12-strong field.
Bailey is also represented in a decent novice chase by Imperial Aura.
Only five go to post for the International Decorative Surfaces Novices’ Chase over an extended three miles and one furlong, but they include Stoney Mountain, Pym, Aye Aye Charlie and Rockpoint.
Imperial Aura finished alone on his chasing debut when his two rivals failed to complete.
“We didn’t learn much other than he can jump competently. We’ll learn a fair bit more this time, so we’ll see how he gets on,” said Bailey.
“He’s a nice horse, he did little wrong over hurdles but he’s always been a chaser in the making, so there was no temptation to stay hurdling despite his mark.”