Tizzard's Card right on cue for chasing debut
Some timely rain at Chepstow has ensured that the jump season, which traditionally steps up a gear on this weekend, does so on time.
While Paul Nicholls has a lorry-load of runners, most interest will surround the chasing debut of Colin Tizzard's Cue Card.
One of the best novice hurdlers of last season, Cue Card was one of the 'Festival bankers' before finishing a creditable fourth to Al Ferof in the Supreme Novices after pulling hard. At Aintree he had no answers to Spirit Son.
The five-year-old faces just three rivals in the two-mile-three-furlongs novice chase.
But with the Ruby Walsh-ridden Silviniaco Conti among them, it will be no push-over, even though Cue Card beat him over hurdles last autumn.
For the connections of Cue Card, this is the moment for which they have been waiting.
"He's in cracking form and this is what we've been looking forward to doing with him right from the first day we had him," said Tizzard. "He's schooled ever so well at home. There's only four but it's a competitive little race.
"We've beaten Silviniaco Conti before and we're looking forward to taking him on again."
The 121st Velka Pardubicka takes place at Pardubice in the Czech Republic tomorrow without an Irish or British runner.
All eyes will be on Tiumen and his phenomenal 58-year-old jockey Josef Vana, who is missing half his rib cage after a fall in Germany. The horse is going for his third win while Vana is going for his ninth as a trainer and his eighth as a jockey.