Captain Guy Disney and Rathlin Rose will bid for a record third victory in the Castel Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown on Friday.
Disney rides with a prosthetic lower right leg after the vehicle in which he was travelling in Afghanistan was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in July 2009.
The former army captain became the first amputee jockey to win a race under rules in Britain when landing the 2017 Royal Artillery Gold Cup aboard the David Pipe-trained Rathlin Rose – and having also won the Grand Military Gold Cup in the meantime, the pair teamed up for a repeat success in the Royal version 12 months later, becoming the first back-to-back winners of the race.
Rathlin Rose was not completely done with when parting company with Disney two fences from home during his hat-trick bid last season – and hopes are high he can return to winning ways on Friday, following a promising effort in defeat at Plumpton early in the new year.
Pipe said: “He ran well in the Welsh Grand National (finished 10th) and ran even better to be third in the Sussex National in January.
“We know he loves it at Sandown and he seems in good form. Guy came and schooled him last week and we were very happy.
“He has a 10lb penalty to give away, but I think he’s in better form than he was going into this race last year, so fingers crossed.”
Rathlin Rose will concede weight to each of his six Sandown rivals.
Lance Bombardier Jody Sole is also bidding to win the race for a third time aboard Lucy Wadham’s Le Reve, having previously claimed victory on the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Gwanako (2013) and Cowards Close (2015).
Grade Two honours are up for grabs in the preceding Weatherbys TBA Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, as long as the track passes an 8am inspection.
A field of six runners is headed by Desaray Girl, who has won her last three starts for Phil Kirby.
Kirby said: “It’s a step up and a tough ask for her, but she keeps winning and we said we’d let her take her chance.
“She’s won a Listed race, so we’ll give her a go in Graded company and see how she gets on.”
Cill Anna is out to claim a third straight win for the Nicholls team, while Colm Murphy’s Botani carries Irish hopes.
Bit On The Side (Nigel Twiston-Davies), Deja Vue (Anthony Honeyball) and Rosie And Millie (Michael Scudamore) complete the line-up.