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."
13 May 2013Fabre confirms Ocovango for Epsom
Aspect on route to big things
Room at the top for Cityscape
Freedom steps into chasing ranks
Lucky thirteen in line for Lockinge
Galway beckons for Swinton hero
Sajjhaa set for late return
Cadeaux thriving in Singapore
Pink primed for Duke Of York
Liber takes aim at Musidora
Battle won for O'Brien
Pretending the real deal
Duntle back to winning ways
Classic glory for Flotilla
Style wins the day in Paris
Highclere double-handed for Dante
Cornerstone plans up in the air
Beckett planning Gesture workout
12 May 2013No hurry for Jammy plans
Guest in hunt for more Ascot glory
Vow set for Goodwood return
Gold-en boy Anodin in Classic hunt
Buick aiming for French strike
Angel flies home to land Chartwell
Barizan bounces back in style
Queally lights up Ascot meeting
Ektihaam storms to Buckhounds win
Nevis takes depleted Trial contest
Hard-fought battle won at Haydock
Secret impresses in Oaks Trial
Ascot drama for Fanning
11 May 2013Felix foot-perfect on fencing debut
Cavalryman leads Cup charge
Ramsa ready to stand Trial
Duntle out to dazzle in Amethyst
Swift return doesn't bother Moran
Garman gives Bolger hope
Henderson: Ground vital for Voice
McMahon sweet on Tart Ascot claims
Murphy to move to France
Athos flies to Ormonde glory
Dee day for impressive Magician
Kingdom confirmed for Queen Anne
Secret's out for Lingfield glory
Lambe expects good run from Hall
Marengo ready to do battle
Greatwood on trial at Lingfield
Barizan sneaks into Swinton
Jamesie gunning for Vic-tory
10 May 2013Telescope focus is on Dante
Blinkers considered for Guarantee#
Bonfire camp bemoan Huxley flop
Moohaajim has six appeal
Ascot welcomes a couple of Guests