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."
8 March 2014Top trainers reject watering
Hinterland takes Champion test
Baltimore sets up bonus bid
Warrior wins Trial battle
Fallon hits Meydan heights
Queally hits Sandown target
Chartreux bounces back to best
Brave Vic has Final word
Soumillon strikes on super Shea
Briar tops Bartlett contenders
Calipto leads Triumph hopefuls
On His Own joins Gold Cup field
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
5 March 2014Bailey praying for rain
Cee Bee supplemented for Champion
Sherwood leaning towards Bartlett
Module to take Queen Mother test
Cee Bee supplemented for Champion
Farr closes in on Winter repeat
Cirrus satisfies Barande-Barbe
Oscar teed up for Bumper raid
Tent 'sound' after injury scare
Sparrow in full flight
Seven shooting straight for Aintree
BHA soothes Mullins security fears
Moore frets over Sea Winter run
Hopes high for Alderwood return
Bolger to make late Gilgamboa call
Nay Never could be a Jersey boy
Guard gallops into record books
Cirrus fourth on Chantilly return
Security on Mullins' mind
Crecy takes Treve pacemaking role
More Of That ride up for grabs
Parade set to swerve Cheltenham
Upbeat Henderson monitoring Tent
Tea team not expecting miracles