EMERGING TALENT (NAP) (best price 5/4)
clocked an eye-wateringly good time when bolting up at Exeter last time out and it would be big disappointment to all concerned – particularly those of us that are backing Paul Nicholls’ charge – if he fails to take this en route to much bigger prizes further down the line. Up until that welcome victory at the West Country venue, the son of Golan had been a shade disappointing, but following an operation to sort out his wind, he looked a totally different proposition 43 days ago. Galloping on strongly in the latter stages on that well-run affair, the seven-year-old pulled readily clear of subsequent winner, Gala Ball, and just to prove the form and time figure are reliable, the likes of Pilgrims Bay, Sandford Castle and Bingo D’Olivate - who were totally thrashed – have either won or run well since. Entered in the big Betfair Hurdle until the final forfeit stage, connections clearly feel as though there’s a big pot to be plundered with their horse somewhere along the way, but for now, the easier pickings of this race should prove as a nice stepping stone towards a classier spring target of their choice.