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."
30 October 2014Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
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Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Road charts route to Royal riches
Johnson taken to hospital
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Royal summons for Apache
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Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
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Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
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Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
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Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
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Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
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Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
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More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US
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27 October 2014Mountainous back on National trail
Ground to dictate Gold run
Elite aim for Rendezvous
Classic dreams at Leopardstown
Smullen celebrates seventh title
Cheltenham target for Module
Pete shows his Aintree mettle
Royal-Oak double for Boistron
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