Dual Grade One-winning hurdler Reserve Tank is set to make his debut over fences at Chepstow on Saturday.
Colin Tizzard’s charge looked fairly ordinary after his first couple of starts over obstacles last season, but raised his game significantly after the turn of the year to rattle off a four-timer that included top-level victories at Aintree and Punchestown in the spring.
Tizzard has won the Listed Low Cost Vans Novices’ Chase twice in recent years – with the brilliant Cue Card in 2011 and Finian’s Oscar two seasons ago – and Reserve Tank is the star name among 10 possible runners this weekend.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, said: “At the moment he’s an intended runner. He’s schooled well and the rain has come, so all being well he’ll be at Chepstow on Saturday.
“Cue Card and Finian’s Oscar both won this race and it’s a nice place to start.
“This weekend will be the first real go (this season) for a lot of horses, so we’ll see how they go, but they seem in good form.”
Reserve Tank’s potential rivals include the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Posh Trish and Secret Investor. The latter won twice over fences at the end of last season – rounding off his campaign with victory in the Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr.
Dan Skelton has entered Annie Angel and Solomon Grey, with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Wholestone and Rebecca Curtis’ Lisnagar Oscar also in the mix.
The most valuable race on what is widely considered the first big Saturday of the National Hunt season is the £50,000 Cotswold Stone Supplies Ltd Silver Trophy.
The highest-rated of 28 entries for this competitive handicap hurdle is Twiston-Davies’ Ballyandy, who was last seen finishing a close third in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Other hopefuls include Paul Webber’s Indefatigable, Nicholls’ Greaneteen and Imperial Aura from Kim Bailey’s yard.
Elsewhere on a a quality card, Jonjo O’Neill’s Scottish Grand National third Cloth Cap could reappear in the Native River Handicap Chase. Ballyoptic, Lil Rockerfeller, The Young Master and Whisper are also entered for the near three-mile contest.