A Cheltenham NAP, Next Best and Each-Way from Timeform
Cheltenham Nap - 13:45 - Back Calico
Calico enjoyed a productive campaign over fences last term as he won a couple of handicaps at Southwell and Doncaster, while he also posted a couple of efforts behind the top-class Jonbon which suggest he's still ahead of the assessor.
Calico gave Jonbon a bit of a scare in a match race in the Kingmaker at Warwick, briefly catching out the long odds-on favourite when increasing the tempo, and he was in the process of again running well behind that rival until falling at the final fence in the Maghull Novices' Chase when around six lengths down.
That would probably have been a career-best effort from Calico had he completed at Aintree and a BHA mark of 139 - only 2 lb higher than the one he defied at Doncaster - could underestimate him. It's also worth noting that he ran well over hurdles at this venue on his reappearance last season, finishing runner-up in a competitive handicap hurdle.
Cheltenham Next Best - 14:20 - Back Petit Tonnerre
Petit Tonnerre is a lengthy chasing type on appearance and it would be little surprise were he to improve on his hurdling efforts now tackling fences.
Petit Tonnerre failed to win last season but he shaped with promise in competitive handicaps on a few occasions, including when running on well into seventh from a long way back in the County Hurdle.
That was an encouraging effort from Petit Tonnerre and one which suggests the five-year-old may still be capable of better for this yard. The switch to chasing might just unlock that potential.
Cheltenham Each-Way - 13:10 - Back Fathom Two
Gavin Cromwell won this event 12 months ago with Sweet Will and has another interesting contender this time around in Fathom Two.
Fathom Two, a winner of a maiden on his second start over hurdles at Downpatrick, arguably produced his best effort yet when beaten only two lengths into third on his handicap debut back at Downpatrick last month.
He shaped a bit better than the result would suggest in that steadily-run race as he lost his place when he pecked at the second-last and was also short of room after the last before running on.
This winning pointer gives the impression he'll be suited by the step up in trip here and, with improvement expected, he makes appeal for Cromwell who enjoyed success with his runners at the track's opening fixture last month.