The chief supporting race on Persian War day at Chepstow this Friday is the extended 2m 7f Dunraven Windows Novices’ Chase (15:20).
Lisnagar Oscar brings leading hurdles form claims into the race on his bow over fences.
Trained by Rebecca Curtis, the six-year-old is a course winner who progressed throughout last season.
After landing his sole Irish point, Lisnagar Oscar ran third to subsequent Grade 2 winner McFabulous at this venue in a bumper. He soon had his attention switched to hurdles.
After chasing home Emitom at Ffos Las, Lisnagar Oscar was pitched straight into Grade 2 company when filling the same spot behind Rockpoint in the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The Oscar gelding then dropped back in trip and just held on over an extended 2m 3f here, denying Dickie Diver by a head.
He put in a career best next time up when scoring by 10 lengths in impressive style in the Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle around Haydock.
Regular jockey Sean Bowen had the luxury of easing Lisnagar Oscar down close home, so he was value for even more than the winning margin.
As he was far from disgraced in two subsequent starts at the highest level, including when third to Champ at Aintree, that is the best form on offer.
Lisnagar Oscar has achieved more in earning his BHA rating of 141 than main market rival Truckers Lodge.
There is 1lb difference between then pair on official figures and the latter does have chase experience under his belt.
If taking to fences, however, then Lisnagar Oscar is the one to beat. He is 13/8 with Betway to land the Dunraven Windows Novices’ Chase en route to bigger and better things.
Flic Ou Voyou, Proschema interesting on hurdles debuts
There are two fascinating contenders in the 2m novice hurdle run before the Dunraven Windows Novices’ Chase (14:45).
Champion Bumper tenth Flic Ou Voyou makes his bow over the obstacles for Paul Nicholls.
This five-year-old son of Kapgarde has his sights considerably lowered into this class 4 affair.
Flic Ou Voyou won consecutive bumpers at Wincanton going into the Cheltenham Festival.
Plenty of sorts that have finished down the field in the Champion Bumper over the years have gone on to make fine hurdlers.
Flic Ou Voyou is also reunited with jockey Harry Cobden, who was aboard for his more taking of those two previous victories.
As Ditcheat handler Nicholls has started the new jumps season with plenty of winners, it would be no surprise to see this horse involved in the finish. Flic Ou Voyou is 5/4 with Betfair for victory here.
Another making his hurdles debut is Dan Skelton Flat recruit Proschema. Formerly in the care of Tom Dascombe, this four-year-old Declaration Of War gelding has interesting back form.
After chasing home subsequent German Group 1 winner Ghaiyyath home on debut at Newmarket, Proschema won his first two outings last season.
He was far from disgraced when sixth in the Chester Vase, third in the Melrose Handicap at York or eighth in the St Leger. That Classic form in particular makes Proschema an intriguing contender here.
As he was a fine running on third in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle over the summer when beaten just over a length, he clearly has the stamina to make a successful transition.
If taking to hurdles, then Proschema appeals more than most in this race at 2/1 with William Hill.
King D’argent can reign in 4yo handicap hurdle
Later on the card is a 2m Limited Handicap Hurdle for four-year-olds (16:30).
Fred Winter fourth King D’argent won first time up last season and appeals most in a competitive renewal after having wind surgery over the summer.
Also trained by Skelton, this Kendargent gelding also ran on the Flat like new stable companion Proschema.
When in care of Ger Lyons, King D’argent finished fourth and third behind subsequent Group 3 winners Hunting Horn and Cypress Creek.
It made him interesting when sent juvenile hurdling last season. After winning his debut for Skelton at Wetherby, King D’argent returned to that venue and placed in a Listed contest.
He was then far from disgraced when chasing home subsequent Grade 1 runner-up Adjali at Market Rasen.
As King D’argent kept only well to take fourth in the Fred Winter, he looks capable of confirming the form despite being 1lb worse off with the sixth home, Praeceps.
One of two runners for Alan King here, Praeceps was fading at the Cheltenham Festival. Torpillo – another who re-opposes – is again burdened by top-weight.
King’s other horse, Our Power, still has a bit to find on that form as well.
It makes King D’argent look the most appealing from those who contested the Fred Winter at 4/1 with BetVictor.
The danger is Nicholls runner Scaramanga. He achieved must less on the Flat than King D’argent, however, and hasn’t been so highly tried over hurdles.
Despite the fine form of his yard, Mastercraftsman gelding Scaramanga is opposed by the Skelton horse.
Silver Forever fancied in finale
In the extended 2m 3f mares’ novice hurdle that closes proceedings (17:35), Nicholls has leading claims of the spoils courtesy of Silver Forever.
This five-year-old course bumper winner brings strong Irish point-to-point form to the table too.
Silver Forever won her sole start in that sphere by 10 lengths from Annie Mc.
The runner-up is now a 140 rated sort that bolted up over course and distance in January, before landing a Grade 2 handicap hurdle at Sandown.
A five-length success at this venue for Silver Forever on her debut under rules saw her made all, meanwhile.
The daughter of Jeremy has since placed in two Listed bumpers and won at Ascot.
She has nothing to fear on that form from the re-opposing Kissesforkatie, who went on to be sixth in the Grade 2 National Hunt Flat Race at Aintree.
As Nicholls’ stable heads to Chepstow on an incredible 75 per cent strike rate with its runners in the last 14 days at the time of writing, he looks sure to have more winners at this meeting.
Silver Forever is thus a strong fancy at 6/5 with Unibet for a winning hurdles bow here.
Kissesforkatie, who has the benefit of a spin over the obstacles, rates the main danger.
Trained by Jeremy Scott, she shares a sire with Silver Forever, but does have 1 1/2 lengths to find on Huntingdon bumper form.
Connections got a hurdles run into her back in May where she chased home Sixty’s Belle at Newton Abbot when beaten 11 lengths.
That was over 2m 5f, so the drop back in trip may help Kissesforkatie who is 4/1 with Betfred to get the better of Silver Forever.