Rocky’s Treasure must give weight to his six rivals as he seeks to give trainer Kim Bailey a third success in the 888Sport Grimthorpe Handicap Chase at Doncaster on Saturday.
The eight-year-old has had a good novice campaign, winning four of his six starts, and now tries his hand against more experienced company.
Bailey knows what it takes to win this three-and-a-quarter-mile test, having struck with The Last Samuri in 2016 and Shraden Leader back in 1994.
“He’s had a very good season. He’s not the world’s biggest horse carrying top-weight, but he’s got every chance,” said the Gloucestershire trainer.
Rocky’s Treasure has yet to tackle further than three miles over fences, although he did finish third over three miles and one and half furlongs in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in December 2017.
“The trip will be fine,” said Bailey.
Nicky Richards is expecting both Looking Well and Chidswell to put up good shows, especially as both won their latest starts.
“They are both in grand form,” said the Greystoke handler.
“Looking Well won nicely there 10 days off, he normally just takes a little time between races, but it’s been a fantastic week and all he’s been doing is sunbathing out in the field.
“He seems in grand fettle, so hopefully he’ll run a good one. He enjoys it round Doncaster. It’s a small field, too. Hopefully he’ll run a very nice race.
“We’re stepping Chidswell up in trip, but he gets the three miles well so hopefully he’ll get the three and a quarter. He’s got a light weight so that will suit and he’ll like the ground, so hopefully he’ll run a good one as well.”
Fergal O’Brien is praying Barney Dwan’s luck turns for the better after a typically unfortunate run at Kempton seven weeks ago.
“He was running a blinder at Kempton last time out and one fell right in front of him,” said the Naunton handler.
“Watching live it didn’t look that bad and we were a bit disappointed, but when we watched it again it totally stopped him.
“He managed to get himself back into it, but then they quickened again and he made a mistake before sticking on to be third.
“He was second to Presenting Percy at Cheltenham over hurdles, he was fourth in the Close Brothers last year with a big weight, he just hasn’t had the rub of the green over fences.
“It’s a small field, he’s schooled well and I’m looking forward to it.”
Dingo Dollar is seeking to bounce back from a disappointing run at Town Moor last time out ahead of a big date in Scotland.
Trainer Alan King told his website: “The Scottish National at Ayr next month is Dingo Dollar’s main target.
“Though he disappointing in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster last time, he had earlier jumped superbly when finishing third in the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury, so fingers crossed he can bring that bit of form to the table.”
Brian Boranha was well beaten in the Sky Bet Chase on his first run for three months and his trainer Peter Niven would like to see a more encouraging performance.
“I hope he runs better than he did last time, but he seems fine,” said the North Yorkshire handler.