See More Business, one of jumping’s old favourites, and rising star Rhinestone Cowboy should answer a lot of questions on Saturday at Wincanton, where there is a 7.30am inspection for frost.
If the meeting gets the go-ahead See More Business, winner of the 1999 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will tackle France’s First Gold in the Country Gentleman’s Association Chase.
See More Business was on the brink of retirement before his rejuvenation in this same race last year and has since gone from strength to strength, finishing third to Best Mate in the Gold Cup and most recently winning at Chepstow.
First Gold had a dirty throat problem when disappointing in Ireland over Christmas, and, despite being held up by bad weather in France, is reported by trainer Francois Doumen to be on his way back.
Rhinestone Cowboy emerges from novice company to tackle Champion Hurdler Hors La Loi 111 and Thisthatandtother in the Kingwell Hurdle.
A convincing victory here should persuade connections to let him take his chance in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next month in preference to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Paul Nicholls and Irish jockey Ruby Walsh, the combination responsible for See More Business, team up again in the novice chase with Azertyuiop, favourite for the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.
Nicky Henderson thinks a lot about Got One Too, but this one will need to be extra special to topple Axertyuiop.
At Ascot, where there is also a 7.30am inspection, Young Devereux, yet another from the Nicholls yard, will find Tiutchev a tough nut in the £100,000 Ritz Club Chase.
The intriguing Reynoldstown Chase clash between star novice chasers Jair Du Cochet, from France, and Jonjo O’Neill’s Keen Leader will shed further light on what is building up into a real thriller for next month’s SunAlliance Chase at Cheltenham.