Though he faces no easy task giving weight away all round Premier Grand Cru (7:25) is fancied to follow up his recent Aintree success at Wetherby this evening.
A winner on his sole start over hurdles in France, the five-year-old has been improving with each run since joining James Ewart and he travelled like a really smart prospect last time, before picking up a well-handicapped horse inside the final couple of furlongs.
He’s up 8lbs for that victory, but the useful Henry Brooke takes off a valuable 5lbs and the step up in trip should bring about further improvement. He was trading at 10/3 early on Wednesday evening but that didn’t last long (into 5/2).
Over in Ireland Ainama (8:30) should take the beating in the beginners chase at Tipperary, following a fine first effort over fences behind the exciting Mossey Joe.
The winner has since followed up in a much better a race and a reproduction of that effort ought to make the former Nicky Henderson trained seven-year-old a tough nut to crack.
One of tonight’s rivals St Devote actually finished in front of the selection the time before that, in a handicap hurdle at Punchestown, but he is now 10lbs better off for a head defeat and he has that initial chasing experience under his belt.