Bold Plan looks on a handy mark and decent value at a standout 9/1 with William Hill to land the spoils in the valuable 2m 3f Grade 3 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday (16:30).
This lightly-raced Evan Williams trained five-year-old represents a yard that has won two of the last four renewals of the race, courtesy of Court Minstrel (2015 and 2017).
Bold Plan has had just four starts over hurdles and shaped really well on the second of those when a 10-length third of 13 to Rouge Vif at Southwell.
The winner is a useful sort who went on to land a Grade 2 at Kelso and finish a fine third to Felix Desjy in an Aintree Grade 1 off an official rating of 142.
That gives the form a strong look. Bold Plan went on to score over hurdles next time up at Taunton when keeping on strongly on soft ground to beat Southfield Stone by 1 1/4 lengths.
Although receiving 7lb from the runner-up, that Paul Nicholls inmate went on to land a Grade 2 next time up to be rated 148 – so it was a smart performance by Bold Plan.
The Jeremy gelding went on to round off the campaign with a solid staying on nine-length second of 18 to Poker Play on handicap debut at Uttoxeter, where held-up well off the pace and arguably given too much to do.
Although now 2lb higher in the weights, a revised 132 mark for Bold Plan may still underestimate his ability – judged on those runs against Rouge Vif and Southfield Stone.
He also remains unexposed and open to stacks more progress. Bold Plan has proven form on testing ground, so there’s nothing not to like about his chances in this.
Imperial Aura feared most in Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle
Trainer Kim Bailey, who has been among the winners of late, saddles a fascinating handicap debutante in Imperial Aura.
This six-year-old son of Kalanisi has only had four starts and came good at the second time of asking when making all to easily land a bumper at Ludlow by four lengths.
Imperial Aura was then sent off odds-on for a novice hurdle art Carlisle.
His supporters never had an anxious moment as he travelled well throughout and forged clear after the last to readily beat Sole Pretender by 3 1/4 lengths. It was a most taking display.
The form has been boosted in no uncertain fashion as the runner-up went to to land his next three starts, before finishing a fine 4 1/2 lengths fifth of 18 to Tudor City in the ultra-competitive Galway Hurdle off a mark of 147.
Imperial Aura went on to round off the campaign with an easy 4 1/2 lengths success in a six-runner affair at Newcastle. That left the impression that he was an exciting prospect who needed keeping onside this season.
He now makes his handicap debut off an opening mark of just 133, so could be absolutely thrown-in at the weights based on his victory over Sole Pretender.
It makes Imperial Aura a worthy Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle market leader at 9/2 with Coral and he looks the obvious danger to Bold Plan.
Remastered a player for Pipe
In a race where a case can be made for most of the 18 runners, Remastered is another who looks weighted to go well and well worth considering each-way.
Thos ex-Elizabeth Doyle trained gelding made a winning debut for Pond House handler David Pipe when easily beating Kateson, who went on to be placed in a Grade 2 hurdle behind the top class Champ off a rating of 141, by 3 1/2 lengths in a bumper at this venue.
Remastered then won easing down by seven lengths on hurdles debut at Ffos Las. He was also far from disgraced when fifth of 17 to Getaway Trump in a warm novice contest at Exeter.
The five-year-old also ran well on his final start last season when a keeping on four-length second to Dashel Drasher at Newbury.
As the winner was in red-hot form and went on to complete a four-timer when scoring in good style at Cheltenham to be rated 145, the form looks strong in relation to this.
It suggests that Remastered should be more than capable of winning races off his current handicap mark of 133.
The fact that he has proven form in the mud is another big plus, so at 14/1 with Betfred he could be a bit of each-way value.
Champagne Court another with claims
Given that he has some solid form in the book, Champagne Court also appeals each-way at the 16/1 with BetVictor who pay five places.
This Jeremy Scott trained six-year-old has only won one of his six starts over hurdles but has posted some very solid efforts in defeat.
They include when staying on strongly to finish a never nearer 12 1/4 lengths fourth of 24 to Early Doors in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March off a mark of 126.
Champagne Court also ran well on his final start of the season when third of 14 to Colonial Dreams in a competitive class 2 affair off the same rating.
He now returns to action in the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle off an unchanged rating. Champagne Court has the services of Rex Dingle in the saddle, who takes off a handy 3lb with his claim.
Taking it into account, he looks weighted to make his presence felt for a yard that has a fine strike rate 23 per cent with its runners at the Welsh venue in the last 12 months.