Connections of Reve De Sivola are hopeful the seven-year-old can build on his promising comeback run behind Big Buck's when he lines up in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
The Nick Williams-trained gelding stayed on well to take second spot when beaten nine lengths by the four-time World Hurdle hero in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury three weeks ago.
It was an encouraging performance by Reve de Sivola as he had been sidelined with a tendon injury since finishing third in the Silver Cup Handicap Chase at this meeting 12 months ago.
With Big Buck's out of this weekend's Grade One and the rest of the season with injury, the way is clear for others to set down a marker in the staying hurdle division.
"We're hopeful. He ran a good race and if he can do the same he should be thereabouts. It's wide open now but no-one likes to win a race when a horse like Big Buck's is injured. It's sad for racing and sad for Ascot, but there are a few horses who've got a similar sort of chance and Reve De Sivola is in the mix," said owner Paul Duffy.
"He was pretty fit when he ran first time, but hopefully he can come on for it. He has come back from a tendon injury so we have to make sure we look after him."
With regular partner Daryl Jacob serving a suspension, Richard Johnson takes the ride.
"When I had horses with Richard Phillips he rode for me there. He's a strong jockey and good in a finish. We would have liked to have had Daryl. He knows the horse and he's his ride. We had various options and Nick (Williams) and I agreed on Richard Johnson. Hopefully they will be a good combination," said Duffy.
Trustan Times takes a big step up in class after defying top weight in admirable fashion in the 'Fixed Brush' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock. Dougie Costello, who rides the Tim Easterby-trained six-year-old, said: "He has been a solid horse for the last two seasons and he has grown up and matured a lot this year.
"He was very impressive at Haydock and he seems to take his races better than last year. His best run last year was his first run. He is stepping up in company now so he has to prove himself. You'd like to think he'd be in the first three whichever way he goes."
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