Daryl's NAP comes in the Greatwood Hurdle
Ben Pauling's promising Novice can kick start Sunday
Back City Chief to come good for Henderson
Tellherthename - 15/82.88 on the Betfair Sportsbook - ran a race full of encouragement at Ascot behind a useful Nicky Henderson horse in Jango Baie, who was thought highly enough of for Nico De Boinville to dismiss the ride on the useful Luccia at Weatherby on seasonal return to head to Kempton for this one sit.
The race was slowly run compared to Knickerbockerglory's win in the following handicap hurdle. Still, there was a notable absence of a front runner in the field, with the selection forced to make his own running in the early part of the race. However, once Nico De Boinville decided to inject some pace, the cream rose to the top, and they really got motoring from four out, easily matching the figures of the handicap from there on in.
Both Jango Baie and Tellherthename pulled miles clear of the third (13 lengths) to suggest there were both useful prospects, and having shaped as though he would come on for the run, Ben Pauling's charge is expected to improve on that showing today while the figures he recorded would already be good enough to win this race.
The selection recorded a useful RPR of 96 in his Point to Point victory in March and changed hands for a huge £200,000. In the hope that the selection can use his jumping experience to his advantage, he is expected to come out on top of Kim Bailey's The Kemble Brewery.
Back at 15/82.88 or bigger.
Nicky Henderson's youngster City Chief - currently 7/24.50 on the Betfair Sportsbook - has more to offer this season, having looked like a work in progress in four starts over fences thus far, and further improvement is expected this season.
He is now 3-3, including a winning Point to Point when tackling soft ground, and while he ultimately disappointed on his final start at Ayr behind Sail Away, that was a brilliant career-best performance from the Skelton winner who made all from flag-fall and was tough to pick up on quickening ground. City Chief paid for going chasing the leader and made a handful of jumping errors on the round so he did well to finish third in truth.
Still, his Ayr run was easily forgiven and now returned to a softer surface in a weaker handicap in which many may come unstuck on this testing surface. The speed figure he clocked when scoring at Wetherby in the four-runner Grade 2 contest was electric and suggested that this rating of 142 in an open handicap for the first time against more exposed rivals is well within reach.
Back him at 7/24.50 or bigger, although 4/15.00 is preferred and waiting for the BSP may prove wise.
When punting this race each year, I ask myself what could potentially run in a Champion Hurdle and finish a creditable fourth or fifth. The answer this year is Kerry Lee's six-year-old Nemean Lion - 7/18.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - who returned to action with an excellent win in the Welsh Champion Hurdle despite reports suggesting they had left something to work on with a view to this race as being the early season target.
He has been raised five pounds for that effort but had stacks in hand at the line, showed plenty of speed between his flights, and an improved jumping technique. He is highly progressive, and he clocked a good number when winning the Grade 2 Premier Novices Hurdle at Kelso in March on the same card was L'Eau Du Sud, who finished third in the Morebattle and was no match on the figures for the selection, so it's a huge surprise to see that one shorter in the betting - he offers no value.
Nemean Lion is highly progressive, will enjoy conditions, unexposed, and is on a steep upward curve with a career-best reappearance under his belt. He makes stacks of appeal for an each-way bet here at 6/17.00 or bigger.
Willie Mulins' Onlyamatteroftime could be anything, and it's hard to get a handle on what to expect. At the same time, Iberico Lord surely wants 2 1/2 miles but sits on a fair handicap rating on the evidence of his Sandown run. It's hard to make a strong case for others other than Sonigino, for whom I have good figures.
It's impossible with a clear round to see Nemean Lion out of the five places on the Betfair Sportsbook.