Nicky Henderson is thankful Cheltenham's big meeting looks likely to beat the weather as it enables him to get Sprinter Sacre back in action in the rearranged Victor Chandler Chase.
Henderson had National Hunt racing's new superstar primed for Ascot last weekend, but the weather scuppered those plans and it looked like Festival Trials Day was heading in the same direction earlier in the week.
However, a mammoth effort by the groundstaff has given the meeting every chance of taking place on its scheduled Saturday date and Henderson has been happy with Sprinter Sacre since his effortless win in the Tingle Creek Chase last month.
"He's absolutely 100 per cent and ready to go. He had a routine check on Monday and was perfect so we are very much looking forward to it. Cheltenham has done wonders to get the meeting on and I think everybody is grateful. It was a pity Ascot went, but we're very pleased to get a run into him now," said Henderson.
"Everything has gone well since Sandown and we are very happy with him."
All through the summer, the Paul Nicholls-trained Sanctuaire was mentioned as a horse who could challenge Sprinter Sacre. He looked awesome when winning at Sandown at the end of last season, but he was easily brushed aside in the Tingle Creek.
Since then he has got back on the winning trail at Kempton, showing a versatility previously unseen when battling back to win, and Nicholls said: "We're fully aware of the task facing Sanctuaire, it looks a very tough ask. But he showed at Kempton that he's not a one-trick horse and we'll give it another shot."
Somersby won the race at Ascot 12 months ago, beating the subsequent Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Finian's Rainbow. He was trained by Henrietta Knight then but is now in the care of Mick Channon, although Knight still has an eye on proceedings.
Dominic Elsworth has ridden him for the past two seasons and will be on board once more. He said: "I'm looking forward to the race and getting him out this season. I've sat on him and he's in great nick. He looks fabulous and I'm expecting a good run.
"Obviously there's the Frankel of the jumps (Sprinter Sacre) to beat. We're taking him on and don't forget he (Somersby) beat Finian's Rainbow in this race last year and he went on to win the Champion Chase at the Festival. He's a horse that's class himself and I just hope he can run a nice race."
21 August 2014Tapestry weaves Taghrooda downfall
Spencer to hang up riding boots
Tapestry floors Taghrooda at York
Mukhadram 'sore' after York
Slade 'unlikely' to run at Haydock
Tiggy takes Lowther by storm
Haggas strikes again at York
Signs good for big Estimate run
Power chases Nunthorpe double
Spencer announces shock retirement
Long bans for Cooper and Gagan
Abandon makes Hopeful return
Alga goes for Gimcrack glory
Yar makes Ebor cut
O'Brien keen on Champion double
Brooch dazzles in Ruby
Game Postponed dominates Voltigeur
Hill scratched from Leger prep
Dutch delivers in Acomb
Blaine works his magic
Byron bids for Curragh Renaissance
Smullen sweet on Anthem chance
Taghrooda ready to wow York
Power heads Nunthorpe field
20 August 2014York enthralled by wizard of Aus
Zarkandar in Ces reckoning
Gosden ponders Cambridgeshire plan
Gal set for easy spell
Estimate leads Lonsdale eight
Glance seeking Lowther glory
Tasaday ready for York test
No tactical concerns for Tag team
Toast ride relinquished by Spencer
Blue is the colour for McCreery
Hill in peak form for Voltigeur
Certain claims clear-cut success
Prince aiming for Acomb glory
Champagne target for Belardo
Telescope team eye Group One glory
Australia camp expect trip to suit
Anthem takes Lowther test
19 August 2014Duke aiming for York reign
Tag tops Oaks field
Matron on Thawaany agenda
Halford anticipates Tosc boost
No hurry for Panama plan
Millman plots weekend Celebration
Overbury role for Dunaden
O'Brien calls on two for Oaks
Newmarket entry for Abandon
O'Brien has some Australia concerns
Pale Mimosa at Ebor summit
Baitha remains in Gimcrack hunt
Anodin fired up for Foret
Moore given Hill role in Voltigeur
18 August 2014Fallon back on Tuesday
Celebration time at Goodwood
Wonder to return to top table
Maximilian in Flying form
Nonette is Maid to measure
International call-up for Australia
Leger dream over for Elite Army
Angel is heaven sent for Tregoning
Memory saved for Doncaster
Panama makes it five on bounce
Hanagan back in business
O'Brien states Australia intention
Kingman powers to Marois glory
Tupi moved up in Boutin
Hawkesbury lame after defeat
Barron hoping for Knavesmire rain
Irish Champion go-ahead for Amralah
Wow factored into Morny picture