Fiddlerontheroof will bid to provide Colin Tizzard with a third victory in the last four renewals of the Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
The Dorset handler first landed the prize with the impressive Finian’s Oscar in 2017, while Elixir De Nutz made every yard of the running 12 months ago.
Fiddlerontheroof certainly appears to hold outstanding claims, having made it third time lucky over hurdles with a dominant display over the course and distance four weeks ago.
The £200,000 purchase had previously chased home the high-class Thyme Hill in the Persian War at Chepstow, before being touched off by the also-promising Edwardstone on a sounder surface at Wincanton.
Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father, said: “He’s in good form and has some good form in the book through the season.
“He proved last time he handles the soft ground at Sandown and the track. I do think that’s quite important as Sandown can catch some horses out when the ground is soft. We don’t have that to worry about and we’re looking forward to running him.
“I think this race will tell us a bit more about where we’re going. This has been the target for a while and we’ll see whether we step him up in trip when the ground dries out or not.”
Emma Lavelle’s Hang In There is rated 5lb superior to Fiddlerontheroof, having bounced back from unseating his rider in unfortunate circumstances on his hurdling bow with back-to-back wins at Exeter and Cheltenham.
Lavelle said: “It looks a competitive little race, but that’s only what you’d expect in a Grade One.
“He seems in very good order. He’s a lovely horse who loves his racing – he pricks his ears and gets on with the job.
“The ground is going to be very testing on Saturday. He did handle it at Cheltenham, but I’m fairly sure he’ll be better on better ground, purely because he’s such a lovely-actioned horse. He’s just a typical Yeats in that he’s really tough.
“I think the ground will turn it into a real test of stamina, which will be in his favour as he’s a horse who will get further in time.”
The Fergal O’Brien-trained Silver Hallmark faces a step up in class, but there was a lot to like about his successful hurdling debut at Chepstow in early November.
“The form of the Chepstow race hasn’t really worked out, with McFabulous (runner-up) being beaten again since, but we’re looking forward to running on Saturday,” said O’Brien.
“He’ll love the soft ground and the track will suit him. It’s a good race and whatever he does will not define his career as we hope he’s a two-and-a-half/three-mile chaser in the making.”
Irish hopes are carried by Gavin Cromwell’s Jeremys Flame, who was last seen chasing home Nicky Henderson’s exciting mare Floressa in a Listed mares only race at Newbury.
“I don’t know if she’s good enough, but she’s run well to finish second in good mares races the last twice and I think she should be okay on the ground,” said Cromwell.
Nicky Henderson relies on the hat-trick-seeking Son Of Camas in his bid for a sixth Tolworth success.
“He has posted two excellent efforts in a bumper and over hurdles at Newbury so now we’re going into the deep end, but we’ve always liked him and we’ll know what level we’re at afterwards,” Henderson told Unibet.
“His jumping is very good and we’ve done plenty of schooling to keep his eye on the ball and he put in a very good piece of work on Tuesday. Fiddleontheroof looked good over course and distance last time so is the obvious one, but I like our horse a lot and he certainly won’t disgrace himself.”
The field is completed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Calva D’Auge and Amy Murphy’s outsider Logan Rocks.