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."
1 February 2015Cheltenham in See sights
Midlands option for Goonyella
Buick and Doyle set for busy spring
Zarkandar seeking World domination
Kazeem could make French return
Musselburgh goes ahead
Lliege keeps second in Welsh drama
Stark gives King Cheltenham options
Reve team dare to dream
Berlais joins Mullins Festival team
Lake victorious in Heroes
Morning runs rivals ragged
Contender Victoire lands knockout
Smooth success for hot Chocolat
Heavyweights wary of Shark attack
31 January 2015Ned edges Towton thriller
Silsol plan comes to fruition
Berlais best in Scilly Isles
Musselburgh takes precautions
Grand news at Wetherby
Turner hit with ten-day ban
Witness back to master Sandown
Chocolat looks sweet at Sandown
Pree primed for big Towton run
Mai heads Sandown Contenders
Walters Kean for National win
Polamco aiming to be Sandown Hero
Johnson seeks Champagne celebration
Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
30 January 2015Hopes rise for Wetherby
Newbury to stage veterans' hurdle
Dude set for two National prep runs
Leopardstown date for D'Antan
No hurry for Flemenstar return
Aigles skips Dubai trip
Wetherby announce inspection plan
Melodic in Exeter frame
Chepstow gets go-ahead
Classy display from Vercingetorix
Ffos Las blow for Carruthers
McCoy in line for Coneygree mount
Blossoming Serge in Supreme hat
Peace declared for Triumph
Hercules features in Bartlett
Games given Neptune entry
29 January 2015Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
Brother sets sail for Festival date
Ferof takes Ascot acid test
Cogry has dual Festival options
Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
Henderson primes Betfair squad
Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux