Chase The Spud’s mix of stamina and jumping can see him land the spoils in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow on Wednesday.
Fergal O’Brien’s gelding has a proven record in the marathon staying handicap department, having ground out victory in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter in March.
After a well-earned long summer off, Chase The Spud made his seasonal reappearance a month ago at Haydock over three and a half furlongs on heavy ground.
He had to display more courage and determination to beat Robinsfirth by six lengths, with 24 lengths back to the third horse, Cloudy Too.
Inevitably, Chase The Spud has gone up in the ratings again, but he has the right attributes to cope with a big weight and when conditions demand it.
Mercenaire can give trainer Nick Williams a third success in the Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle. The Devon handler saddled Me Voici to take this Grade One in 2009 and Le Rocher struck in 2013. He has found another suitable contender in Mercenaire, who was impressive when making most of the running to score by 25 lengths at Exeter last month.
The expected testing terrain should hold no fears for No Hassle Hoff in the Coral Bet 5 Get 20 Handicap Hurdle. The five-year-old, trained by Dan Skelton, was not disgraced when fourth to emerging staying star Sam Spinner in a hot contest at Haydock and does not face such exalted company this time.
Politologue completed his transition to leading two-miler when outpointing Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and can follow up that success in the Unibet Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
Trainer Paul Nicholls is happy for John Hales’ grey to take in this Grade Two contest and it looks a golden opportunity judged on his latest effort.
Shantou Rock can bounce back from defeat on his latest start to land the 32Red.com Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase.
The five-year-old, from the all-conquering Skelton stable, charge suffered a surprise reverse at odds-on when beaten by Ozzie The Oscar in a four-horse affair at Warwick.
He is given another chance as he had won nicely at Newton Abbot in October and his form is as good as any in this field.
Midnight Tune can take the 32Red Casino Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for Anthony Honeyball after a confidence-boosting first win over jumps at Wincanton earlier in the month.
At Wetherby, Duke Of Navan is fancied to make amends for an early exit at Newbury last time out with a clear round in the 188Bet Castleford Handicap Chase.
The Nicky Richards-trained nine-year-old had made an encouraging reappearance when a close third to Baby King at Aintree.
Pure Shores was acquired for 30,000 guineas from Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin stable in the summer and struck at the second time of asking for trainer Ian Williams at Wolverhampton.
The daughter of Dubawi could prove to be a shrewd purchase, especially if she wins the 32Red.com EBF Fillies’ Handicap back at the Colwick Park track.
Min takes centre stage in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown.
Willie Mullins’ six-year-old took the Grade One novice chase at this meeting 12 months ago, only to be out of action for 11 months after that.
However, he made a stunning return at Gowran Park four weeks ago and can continue to make up for lost time.
Oscar Knight was third in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase last December and has every chance of going a couple of places better in the valuable prize this time.
Tom Mullins’ eight-year-old warmed up for the three-mile heat with victory in a handicap hurdle at Naas six weeks ago.
Limerick’s feature, the Tim Duggan Memorial Handicap Chase, can fall to Fine Theatre. Paul Nolan’s seven-year-old made a pleasing return from a six-month absence when a close third in a handicap hurdle at Clonmel and should be cherry-ripe for this contest.
TURF TALK TIPS
CHEPSTOW: 12.35 Shalakar, 1.05 Quite By Chance, 1.35 No Hassle Hoff, 2.10 Mercenaire (next best), 2.50 CHASE THE SPUD (NAP), 3.20 Pure Vision, 3.50 Personal Coach.
KEMPTON: 12.45 Kapdad, 1.20 Shantou Rock, 1.55 Midnight Tune, 2.30 Politologue (treble), 3.05 Sir Ivan, 3.40 Apache Song.
WETHERBY: 12.30 Sliding Doors, 1.00 Jonniesofa, 1.30 Albert’s Back, 2.05 Duke Of Navan, 2.40 Same Circus, 3.15 Turtle Cask.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.45 Swendab, 2.15 Rizzle Dizzle, 2.45 Kaser, 3.25 Pure Shores, 3.55 Rainbow Rebel, 4.15 Scotch Myst, 4.55 Bamako Du Chatelet.