Alan King's Vendor aims to put a disappointing seasonal reappearance behind him in the Sportingbet Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury on Thursday.
The two-mile Listed contest, better known as the Gerry Feilden, was won by subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby 12 months ago. While it is unlikely to unearth a similar star this time around, each of the six runners can be given some sort of chance.
French recruit Vendor, a staying-on third when favourite for last season's Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, was pulled up on his comeback at Aintree but connections are hopeful he can bounce back.
Tony Stafford, racing manager for owners Thurloe Thoroughbreds, said: "Unfortunately things didn't work out at Aintree. He pulled too hard, running on very soft ground over a trip that was too far for him (two and a half miles).
"It was probably wrong to go there in hindsight, but he had to start somewhere and hopefully he'll have improved considerably for the run. He's back at two miles, which is where he wants to be. The ground is a bit of an issue. I think he acts on it but obviously he's got to relax when he is running in testing conditions.
"He is far more relaxed at home now, so hopefully he is the same when he gets back on the racecourse. He is a talented horse. He's only a four-year-old and still quite raw and I think we've only scratched the surface so far. He was very green in the Fred Winter. It was his first dog fight and he was stuck in traffic, but he finished his race well."
The Rebecca Curtis-trained Peckhamecho reverts to hurdles after being well beaten on his last two starts over fences.
Curtis said: "He's probably on a high enough mark, but hopefully he'll run well. It's a confidence booster as much as anything as he has lost his confidence over fences. Hopefully he'll enjoy himself. He has won on soft ground over hurdles, but I suppose it's going to be extremely soft, so that would be another question mark."
Dean Ivory does not have many runners over jumps, but is confident of a bold show from Valid Reason following his fine second at Sandown earlier this month.
"On his last run, he has to go there with a very good chance. He ran really well at Sandown and just didn't get home up the hill. Back on a flatter track, it will suit him well. I thought the race would cut up a bit, but I didn't think it would cut up to just six runners, so it's great for us. He's fit and well and hopefully he'll run a very big race," said Ivory.
9 March 2014Fall leaves Cooper 'badly winded'
National glee for supersub Mullins
Cooper warms up with double
Cooper warms up with double
Francome fancies New One revenge
Quinn targets another Triumph
Buck's primed for World title bid
Cheltenham team monitor ground
Fenton delays Instalment call
Activial to duck Festival mission
Hope springs eternal for Encore
Avenue roads lead to Irish Oaks
Fab Fly takes on eight in Champion
Dude's the main man
Top trainers reject watering
Hinterland takes Champion test
Baltimore sets up bonus bid
Warrior wins Trial battle
Fallon hits Meydan heights
Chartreux bounces back to best
Brave Vic has Final word
Soumillon strikes on super Shea
On His Own joins Gold Cup field
8 March 2014Queally hits Sandown target
Briar tops Bartlett contenders
Calipto leads Triumph hopefuls
Ginge fires burn brightly for Neild
Creek forced out of Gold Cup
Milan targeting Final glory
McCoy to miss Sunday and Monday
Exchange rate pays dividend
Temps doubtful for Festival
Conor settles in at Cheltenham
De Bromhead sweet on Special
Epsom to honour St Nick
Mullins dominates JLT entries
Al and Dynaste top Ryanair field
Big two lead World possibles
7 March 2014Lockinge target for Tonto
All set for a super Saturday
Silver aiming to shine
Imperial only thought for Honeyball
Distance fears for Highland
Montiridge preps for Dubai trip
Ayr gets go-ahead
Ayr delay inspection decision
Benbulben misses Cheltenham
Card 'gut wrencher' for Tizzard
Guard stands tall for new record
Faugheen looms over Neptune field
Ballycasey stands firm in RSA
Sire spearheads Queen Mother list
Australia still in Derby shake-up
Henderson perfectly happy with Tent
Regal leads the way in Imperial
6 March 2014McNamara in 'excellent spirits'
Codd snapped up for Sea
Farm National bid in the balance
Byron all set for Aussie challenge
Ayr takes precautions
Bridgwater salutes unsung hero
Murtagh watches on at Lingfield
Mullins retains Fly supporting cast
Bittar welcomes bill amendments
Fenton cleared for Festival runners
Trip concerns sway McCoy to Fishers
Regal vies for Imperial rule
Mullins quintet in Supreme mix
Arkle has Champagne sparkle
Rizeena given dual Guineas options