Tony Calvin struck gold with Royal Vacation at Kempton on Boxing Day and recommends wagers on the following five on Tuesday...
"Milanisi Boy won his novice hurdle here in January and shaped very well when third on his comeback run over 2m5f at Cheltenham. The handicapper has raised him 3lb for that, but he still looks feasibly treated and he is worth one more chance of proving his stamina over this longer trip on decent ground."
People who spend the majority of their working lives - before they are finally found out and given the old heave-ho, and my clock is certainly ticking on that score - watching, talking and writing about horses really shouldn't fess up to the following.
But I have never been scared to tell the truth - well my version of it, anyway, which is probably why so many in the "game" have unfollowed and blocked me on Twitter in 2016 - and I had genuinely never heard of the five-year-old white mare Baie Des Iles before I wrote an ante-post piece on the Welsh National last week.
Okay, hardly shameful stuff and it is not the same as never heaving heard of a 143-rated handicapper from the UK, but this is a horse who has already had nine runs in Ireland since coming over from having from France with, apparently, quite a reputation after winning over fences and being Grade 2-placed at Auteuil as a three-yearold.
And one of those nine efforts was a sixth in the Irish Grand National last season.
In fact, she boasts a fair chasing CV for a five-year-old and one who appears to possess the attributes needed to excel in this race.
I would have liked the usual bottomless conditions for her, but hopefully it will ride more soft than good to soft. And, anyway, Chepstow, like Ffos Las, is a course that looks gruelling and stamina-sapping even on a bright sunny day in June.
As is seemingly his wont these days, the English handicapper has burdened her with 2lb more than her Irish mark, which is a clear negative.
But looking at her videos, Baie Des Iles, a 3m1f heavy ground winner at Punchestown in January, is a solid jumper in the main - Katie Walsh thinks she would have won when falling two out in a novice hurdle at Limerick last year - and she looked as though she could go round again when plugging on into sixth in the Irish National at Fairyhouse last month. She doesn't appear to do anything quickly, that's for sure.
She tuned up for this prize with a very good effort over 2m6f over hurdles at Navan last month.
She may have been beaten 24 lengths and beat only three home in the end, but she was ridden uncommonly close to the pace that day and travelled really well, too, surprisingly so for a mare whose strong suit is her jumping and stamina. She was still bang there in the firing line two out.
The Ross O'Sullivan-trained mare travelled over to the UK late last week before "Storm Barbara" was set to hit Ireland, and I think the youngster of this particular party is a very fair bet at 21.020/1 - some of you might already be on at bigger prices ante-post - and bigger to beat some more well-known staying handicappers.
The final piece in the jigsaw could be the re-application of cheek pieces. She has never worn them for current connections but apparently the two times she wore them in France, she won and finished third in that Grade 2 chase. It's a very interesting move.
The gods look to have smiled on Native River as regards the ground and he must have a favourite's chance of following up his Hennessy win from Carole's Destrier off the same mark.
He escapes a penalty for that victory because he was already 11st 12lb and no penalty can be added to take his weight above that, so his chance is there for all to see. He would be carrying an extra 8lb if the handicapper had his way.
At around 4/1, he is a perfectly fair betting proposition over a trip that holds no fears - he finished second to Minella Rocco in the four-miler at Cheltenham - but at twice the price the Newbury runner-up appeals just as much.
The Hennessy takes some winning first time out so for him to finish a ½ length second there on his reappearance was particularly praiseworthy.
In fact, all of the other first 10 home had the benefit of a run. We know Carole's Destrier stays well, having won the 3m5f London National at Sandown just four starts ago, and, 6lb well-in, he is the second best handicapped horse in the race.
I couldn't put you off him either.
My short-list also includes Viconte Du Noyer, who didn't take to the Grand National fences last time, and he would greatly benefit if the ground really does ride good to soft. He looks a very backable price at 19.018/1, and he is the second string to my bow.
He is totally unexposed at this trip, having raced over nearly a mile further than he had done previously when beating Warrantor by a length over an extended 3m3f at Cheltenham last month. A 6lb rise looks fair, and there could be a good deal more to come from him. The booking of 3lb claimer Harry Cobden is another big plus.
Mad about the Boy
Tornado in Milan would be the token selection in the seven-runner handicap chase at 15:15 but the handicap hurdle at 13:25 is a more attractive betting heat and Cobden again looks to have an excellent chance on Milanisi Boy. Back him at 11.010/1 or better.
Awaywiththegreys is going for a remarkable fourth straight win in this race and presumably this has been the plan for a while. But he has been running poorly and Milanisi Boy looks a safer, if more obvious, betting conveyance.
He won his novice hurdle here in January and shaped very well when third on his comeback run over 2m5f at Cheltenham. The handicapper has raised him 3lb for that, but he still looks feasibly treated and he is worth one more chance of proving his stamina over this longer trip on decent ground.
Shades of the King George in the 14:00 in that the Grade 1 Juvenile may lack numbers but it certainly doesn't lack quality, as two leading Triumph Hurdle candidates go head -to-head, though Dolos and Dinos Velvet are also no mugs.
Defi Du Seuil hasn't really come off the bridle yet in winning twice at Cheltenham and looks a serious juvenile prospect, while Evening Hush has similarly looked a proper tool when making all in her two wins, last time out in a very good time at Aintree.
I would side with the filly Evening Hush at the prices, but it's not the kind of shape of race I normally get involved in.
One word of warning. If Defi Du Seuil does win don't necessarily steam in for the Triumph Hurdle. His owner JP McManus has a lot of serious juvenile talent in Ireland, so it is possible that he may switch one to the Supreme Hurdle.
Martin Pipe did exactly that with the four-year-old Hors La Loi in 1999, who won narrowly by 17 lengths...
Given the range of talent in the 2m novice chase division it is a touch surprising that Altior is already trading at around the 2.77/4 mark for the Arkle, for all the fact that he was outstanding when winning the Supreme and has pretty much looked a natural in his two chase starts to date.
He was entered in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton as well as this novice race at 13:45 but Nicky Henderson has wisely decided to take the conservative path (at the moment anyway, but let's see if that changes if something happens to Douvan) and the betting suggests he is a penalty kick for victory in the Wayward Lad.
But penalties get missed, even though this is probably a touch less competitive than his six-length win in the Henry VIII at Sandown. And while it is true that he has looked a natural in the main, some of his early jumps last time out did lack a bit of fluency, which is what you would expect of a novice having just his second start over fences on that tricky track.
Given his raw talent and ability, he can probably afford a few hesitant leaps and still outclass these. But the betting tells you that, so let's move on.
Sire De Grugy and Special Tiara are old sparring partners who have both won the Desert Orchid in the past, but the latter will surely have the upper hand here in receipt of 10lb at 14:20.
Some may disagree given that Sire De Grugy has just about returned to his best in his last two starts with a win off 160 at Ascot and a gallant, if somewhat agonising from my point of view, second in the Tingle Creek last time. And Special Tiara was very disappointing in the Shloer at Cheltenham last month.
But the Irish chaser's demise there was all too predictable given that he always comes on a ton for his reappearance run.
In recent seasons his progression from his first to second start of the season has been stunning, and that was seen in no starker terms than when his tailed-off Navan run was followed by his ¾ length second to Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek off levels last term.
And you will remember that he didn't exactly get the rub of the green that day when the winner cannoned into him jumping the last, and had to survive a stewards enquiry.
The Irish handicapper makes him a 1lb better horse than Sire De Grugy, so in receipt of 10lb he will take some stopping with that Cheltenham run under his belt.
There is predictably no juice in the price, though, in such a small field.
Two to back in the closing race on the card
Bally Longford will probably be on the top of everyone's list in the 15:30 after his Cheltenham run last time.
He was never tried over further than 2m6f when trained in Ireland and started off his career with Colin Tizzard finishing third over 2m at Cheltenham last month.
But he was upped to 3m2f in a first-time tongue-tie there and he looked like winning for much of the straight - he traded at 1.09 in the run - before emptying close home.
Back 2f in trip and off the same mark, he has clear chances. And for a change I am not going to stray from the obvious as I think he is a fair price at around 4/1.
Opening Batsman has run two of his better efforts over course and distance and the handicapper has given him a decent chance, dropping him 3lb for his admittedly woeful effort on his comeback. And he is another horse that always seems to need his first run of the season badly, so that can easily be forgiven.
He is now 5lb lower than when second to Theatre Guide here in the Betbright Chase in February. In fact, I have to have him as a saver at 11.010/1 or better given the price in a race that has cut up at the overnight stage.
Back Milanisi Boy at 13.012/1 in the 13:25 at Chepstow
Back Baie Des Iles at .0 in 14:40 at Chepstow
Back Viconte Du Noyer at 19.018/1 in the 14:40 at Chepstow
Back Bally Longford at 5.04/1 in the 15:45 at Kempton
Back Opening Batsman at 11.010/1 in the 15:45 at Kempton