Another weekend of top-class action awaits jumps fans with a number of high profile horses making their seasonal returns. Festival clues are sure to be on offer as some of last year’s big players go head-to-head again.
We've picked out five horses who it might be worth following both this weekend and for the season ahead.
FRODON - 13.35 Wincanton
Although there are only four runners in Saturday’s race, a strong case could be made for each with all having won their previous two outings However, it’s Paul Nicholls’ 4yo who is the most intriguing both for this weekend and the long term. Still only a 4yo, Frodon has made an impressive start to live over the bigger obstacles and is still prominent in the ante-post market for next weekend’s BetVictor Gold Cup. Whether he goes for that or not, he definitely looks like a horse connections can have fun with this season.
MR MIYAGI - 14.40 Aintree
Dan Skelton’s 7yo enjoyed a progressive season Novice Hurdling last year, winning three of his four starts. His sixth place finish in the Supreme at the Festival is smart form and he should come on from his reappearance at Kempton just under 3 weeks ago. His trainer intends to aim him at ‘some good races’ this season and there’s no reason why he can’t be successful on Saturday with match fitness on his side compared to his three main market rivals.
THE LAST SAMURI - 14.35 Down Royal
Last seen putting in a huge run to finish second in last season’s Grand National, Kim Bailey’s 8yo enjoyed a tremendous season last year as he progressed through the chasing ranks. Although sure to come on for this run, there is no reason why he can’t be competitive in what looks a high-class renewal of the JNWine.com Champion Chase. If his brave Grand National effort has not left its mark, there’s no reason why he can’t continue to improve over the course of the season and return to Aintree in 2017.
SPLASH OF GINGE - Aintree 15.10
A horse who seems to have been around for an age, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 8yo certainly enjoys it around Aintree with some of his best performances coming on Merseyside. If he can recapture some of that old sparkle from previous visits, Saturday could prove the stepping stone to better things this season which could culminate at another crack at the Grand National come April.
KHEZERABAD - Sunday 13.40 Sandown
Highly-tried on both runs in this country last season, Nicky Henderson’s 4yo made his seasonal reappearance when finishing 2nd at Cheltenham 16 days ago. Sent off favourite that day, there’s no disputing the 4yo is expected to come good at some stage this season and Sunday’s race looks an ideal opportunity. If he can win on Sunday there's no reason why he can't go on to build upon that success moving forward and he could be one to follow as he progresses through the ranks.