Gun Digger has favourable race conditions in the extended 2m 6f Ryans Cleaning Chase at Galway on Tuesday (15:40).
Trained by Gordon Elliott for Gigginstown House Stud, this seven-year-old son of Stowaway is down in trip and grade.
His novice campaign over fences last season showed some promise. After starting in beginners’ events over too sharp a trip at Gowran Park and Navan, connections stepped him up in distance.
An increased stamina test was just what he needed. Gun Digger made it third time lucky over fences in a competitive race at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
Although left well clear at the last by a faller, he did nothing wrong with his round of jumping and scored by 18 lengths.
The runner-up, Whisperinthebreeze, went on to win a valuable Grade A handicap chase at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Gun Digger also had Grade 1 winning novice hurdler and subsequent Close Brothers runner-up Tower Bridge a further 17 lengths behind in third. That gives the form a solid look.
He was also far from disgraced when dropped back in trip for a Grade 3 at Punchestown and fourth to Winter Escape.
Gun Digger form the best on offer
All of the runner-up, A Plus Tard who won the aforementioned Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, third and fifth horses home have scored since.
Gun Digger then contested the 4m Grade 2 National Hunt Chase and fell upsides the leaders at the 18th. He finished the campaign when pulling up in the Irish Grand National after getting hampered twice.
This is easier obviously. On all known form, Gun Digger sets a clear standard in this lower grade affair.
An official chase mark of 138 puts him 10lb and upwards clear of the field. Even considering the penalty for his previous win, this gelding still comes out on top.
With in-form jockey Kevin Brouder taking the ride and value for his 5lb claim, everything points to a big run.
Gun Digger is a worthy 6/5 favourite with 888Sport with soft going no problem. He has won on heavy twice over hurdles before.
Taking everything into account, he should get a second career chase win here en route to bigger things.
Bet of the Day: 6/5 with 888Sport, Gun Digger wins the Ryans Cleaning Chase at Galway.