Flagship Uberalles, fresh to run for his life, heads an all-quality field in his bid to win a fourth Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
His principal rivals are the Arkle Chase winner Moscow Flyer, who has travelled from Ireland, and the former two-mile champion chaser Edredon Bleu. Throw in Cenkos, Get Real and Wahiba Sands and you have a contest worthy of a championship status.
Flagship Uberalles has been having weekly wades in the Bristol Channel to strengthen troublesome muscles.
Before joining the Somerset set-up of Philip Hobbs he was successful for previous trainers Paul Nicholls and Noel Chance. Last year it was Hobbs’s turn to taste Tingle Creek triumph and there is no reason to believe Flagship Uberalles has gone downhill since then.
He hardly ever runs and that’s the secret with him — best when fresh.
Two-mile stars of the future lining up for the Extraman Trophy include the impressive Hereford winner Impek, running in the Edredon Bleu colours of Jim Lewis, who also owns Gold Cup hero Best Mate.
Impek may have only two rivals Tysou and Le Roi Miguel, but both are young chasers of great promise.
Samon, from the Martin Pipe stable, has been the gamble of the week for the William Hill Handicap Hurdle. Among his syndicate of owners are England footballers Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman.
Samon was bought for them by former jockey Graham Bradley, (pictured) who last week was banned from racing for eight years. Bradley will be able to go to Sandown as his suspension is pending an appeal.
At Chepstow See More Business, that evergreen among long distance chasers, takes on Grand National hero Bindaree and Welsh National winner Supreme Glory in his bid to win the John Hughes Rehearsal Chase for a third time.
In Ireland First Gold reappears in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. The race will be packed with hints for the future as the field includes Rince Ri and Alexander Banquet.