BetVictor Smartcards Handicap Chase (Grade 3) | 3m3½f | 4yo+ | ITV/RTV
Conditions hold no fears for Ramses De Teillee, who splashed through a saturated surface to win over hurdles at Cheltenham's opening meeting of the season, and was a cracking second in last season's Welsh Grand National on soft ground.
Trainer David Pipe had mentioned a repeat attempt at the Chepstow marathon after last month's victory, but this appears too good an opportunity to miss as the 153-rated chaser returns to fences with his ideal conditions.
"He's got top weight but will love conditions," said Pipe. "He's got other options, such as the Welsh National, but this is slightly easier and was always an option if the rain came – and it certainly has. I'm looking forward to running."
Rockstar should relish the ground
Another with heavy ground form is Pop Rockstar, who has the profile of a progressive staying chaser after winning his previous two starts and could be bound for the Welsh National should all go to plan here.
After signing off last season with victory at Chepstow, he started the current campaign on a winning note at Carlisle and staying appears to be his forte.
"He's won his last two over fences and is going the right way," said trainer Jonjo O'Neill. "He loves soft ground and stays well and, if all goes well, the Welsh National looks a logical target."
Williams turns to Plan B for Achille
Achille won three and finished runner-up on four of his five runs last season and attempts to start the new campaign where he left off for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch.
Initially earmarked for Friday's cancelled card, the presence of Ramses De Teillee means Achille carries just 10st 6lb.
"It's a big step up in class and we'd declared him for the amateur race on Friday, which would have been a more comfortable class of race for him," said Williams.
"He should be able to handle the conditions and I just hope he lasts the distance on the ground."
What they say
Colin Tizzard, trainer of West Approach
Everything is in his favour this time. You might say he didn't quite get home last time, but he's a fat little sod and it was his first run of the season. The race has brought him on and he now looks beautiful. I'm sure Robbie Power will put him to sleep at the back of the field and then play late. He'll never have a better chance.
Lucinda Russell, trainer of Big River
He's had his soft palate done and is working really well. His jumping was a bit hit and miss last season, but he's schooled really well this spring and hopefully we can get his season off to a good start. The ground won't bother him.
Lucy Wadham, trainer of Potters Legend
I was pleased with his first run back over hurdles and he's come out of it well and has schooled nicely since. He'll love the ground and he needs a fence now, so I'm hoping for the best.