Alan King is on a fact-finding mission with Balder Succes in the totepool.com Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
The four-year-old won on his first three starts over hurdles in Britain last season, but failed to complete in the major juvenile events at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring and so has questions to answer at this level.
"Balder Succes is arguably our most exciting runner this weekend," the Wiltshire handler told his website, www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"He runs in the Elite Hurdle, and, though he had a setback six weeks ago which left me thinking that he would not be ready in time, he has come to hand quicker than we could have hoped, and he schooled on Thursday, so off we go.
"He was unbeaten until those mishaps at Cheltenham and Punchestown, so we do not know how good he is."
David Arbuthnot's Topolski was largely disappointing last term, but the trainer is hopeful of better from his charge this season.
The trainer said: "He had a few problems last year, but he seems to be over those now and he seems happy and well in himself," said Arbuthnot.
"He's quite a difficult horse to gauge, fitness-wise. I ran him first time back after a break a couple of years ago thinking he'd need the run, and he went and won by seven lengths.
"My feeling is he will come on for the run, but he wouldn't be too far off right.
"It's a nice race to run him in as I didn't really want to start him off in a big-field handicap somewhere. I wanted to get him out in a nice, small field so he could build up his confidence. If he can run a nice race I'll be happy."
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