Although it wasn’t that obvious at the time, the Grade 1 Doombar Novices’ Hurdle won by Thistlecrack at Aintree last season has turned out to be a key form-line for so many top races this campaign and it has more than a fair chance of producing the World Hurdle winner in the shape of Colin Tizzard’s charge, who is now a hot favourite for the big staying contest following a series of victories in all the best trials.

He is, however, as short as he’s likely to get and offers very little value at his current price of 5/4, whereas, there does appear plenty of legs left in the ALPHA DES OBEAUX (best price 8/1) project from an each-way stance and now looks as good a time as any to get stuck into Mouse Morris’ charge while there are so many ifs and buts about majority of the others.

Looking back at that Aintree race, he was the only horse to offer up any resistance to Thistlecrack in the latter stages of that top-class contest and although he looked to be getting the worse of the argument when he took a heavy fall at the last, he was still running on strongly enough at the time to suggest he’d have pushed the winner all the way to the line. The son of Saddler Maker has gone on to prove himself just as reliable as ever in his three races so far this season and his latest victory in one of the best Irish trials, the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran, should have put the finishing touches to his preparation.

Although most of his best form is on a soft surface, as he proved at Aintree he does operate well enough on quicker ground and that imperviousness is always a crucial when analysing a horse’s credentials from an ante-post perspective. On top of that positive, he’s yet to finish out of the first two when completing the course (121222221) and that consistency and his overall level of form makes him an irresistible proposition at his current odds.

The only chink in his armoury is the fact he’s never raced at Cheltenham, but given that he’s got plenty of top-class form at plenty of stiff Grade 1 tracks, it would come as something of a surprise if the galloping nature of the New Course didn’t play into his strengths.

Alpha Des Obeaux - 1pt e/w @ 8/1