Paul Nicholls has two runners on the first day of Cheltenham's November Meeting plus one at Southwell, and all three look to have strong claims...
"Best chance: Southfield Stone. He is going the right way over fences and won in style over the course last time."
Hoping for a big run dropped back to two miles
He ran tidily in the Old Roan at Aintree, where he moved into contention in the straight looking a big danger until lack of a run told late on. He is a hard horse to work out and might just be a staying two miler because he travels so well every time and jumps for fun. Magic Saint always needs a race first time and won nicely at Newbury a year ago on his second start reverting to two miles. I'm dropping him back to two miles again in this and am hopeful of a big show with Bryan Carver taking off a handy 5lbs.
Will come on for latest victory and has experience over fences
He jumped round Cheltenham beautifully late last month, made much of the running and kept on strongly for a thoroughly professional victory. Dan Skelton's smart novice Protektorat is going to be tough to beat but Southfield Stone is bound to have improved for the run, has a bit of experience over fences and will give it his best shot.
Step up in trip and soft ground give him a good chance
Runner up in his only Irish point-to-point he needed time last season. He isn't the quickest but kept on stoutly when he was second recently to The Bull McCabe at Stratford. They meet again here and I'd like to think that the step up in trip and improvement for the run will help Barbados Buck's get much closer this time. He will stay all day and the softer the ground the better for him.