Bagad Bihoue appears to be the second string for Paul Nicholls based on jockey bookings, but he can still prove top dog in the totepool Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow.
Sam Twiston-Davies partners El Bandit in the Grade Two heat but it must have been a tough call with both boasting plenty of winning experience over obstacles.
However, Nick Scholfield can be the main beneficiary of that decision as he teams up with the four-time winner and highest-rated runner Bagad Bihoue.
The five-year-old has been on quite a roll through the summer, winning twice at Newton Abbot in July before going on to score twice more at Stratford in August, with an aggregate winning distance of just short of nine lengths.
He probably has not faced too much in terms of quality company and this will certainly be a stiffer test, but the conditions of the race give him a slight edge and good ground is right up his street.
Nicholls should also be on the mark with Arpege D’Alene as he returns to fences in the totepoolliveinfo.com Novices’ Chase.
He showed plenty of ability over hurdles and while his initial chase outing yielded a fine second behind Junction Fourteen, he perhaps was not the sharpest over fences and Nicholls opted to revert to the smaller obstacles for the rest of last term.
Arpege D’Alene is sure to have been well drilled ahead of this outing though and the vibes from the Nicholls yard have been good.
Junction Fourteen himself will also be in action as he clashes with Sire De Grugy in the feature John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase.
Emma Lavelle’s charge would not have got near the former two-mile champion at his very best, but Sire De Grugy is perhaps past his peak now and, notably, has to concede more than a stone in weight to the selection.
TURF TALK TOP TIPS
CHEPSTOW: 2.15 Dolos, 2.45 Arpege D’Alene, 3.25 Wishfull Dreaming, 4.00 Junction Fourteen (next best), 4.30 BAGAD BIHOUE (NAP), 5.00 Theatrical Star, 5.30 Diamond Benny, 6.00 Going Gold.
GOODWOOD: 2.00 Starcrossed, 2.35 No Not Again, 3.10 Fields Of Song, 3.45 Lightning Charlie, 4.20 Monarchs Glen, 4.50 Rex Bell (treble), 5.20 Unison.