Neff is set to lead trainer Gary Moore’s bid for a fourth victory in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
Moore knows what it takes to land the valuable handicap, having been successful with Heathcote (in 2007), Wingman (2008) and Violet Dancer (2015).
Of the West Sussex trainer’s four entries this year, only Neff is currently guaranteed a slot in the maximum 24-runner field.
His other possibles – Distingo, Touchthesoul and Aiguille Rouge – occupy the last three places of the 30 left in at the confirmation stage.
“The only one who looks like getting a run is Neff. It’s a big ask for the horse. We hope to ride him differently, it might bring a bit more improvement in him,” said Moore.
“It looks like a tough race this year when you’ve got Hughie Morrison’s horse (Not So Sleepy) if he runs – he’s in the Champion Hurdle and has only got 11st 3lb, so he could win on the bridle. He’s a very talented horse.
“Neff is a definite runner. I probably won’t run Aiguille Rouge and Touchthesoul won’t run either. I’ll probably run two in it – Neff, and Distingo if he gets in.”
Moore will make a late call which race A Toi Phil will run in at the Berkshire track.
The multiple Grade Two winner, formerly trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, holds entries in the Win Bigger On The Betfair Exchange Chase, registered as the Game Spirit, over two miles, and the three-mile Betfair Denman Chase.
Moore’s preference is for the shorter contest, but he will see how the declarations for both races are looking just before deadline time before deciding.
“He goes in the race with the smallest number of runners,” said Moore.
“It will be a last-minute job. I’d rather run him in the two-mile race than the three mile.
“He’s surprised me how much he’s still got interest in life and everything. He’s a nice horse to have around.”