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."
4 December 2013Court team eyeing Huntingdon return
Oscar on course for Cheltenham
Cantlow in Cheltenham frame
Juddmonte "not for sale"
Butler handed five-year ban
Noseda content with Grand journey
Cloud future hinges on Mile outcome
Road charts route towards Becher
Rain key to Azorian Navan bid
Greatrex ponders Baby gameplan
Pipe tinkers with Crus schedule
Fahy eyes Morning glory in Topaz
Knight backs Somersby to shine
Verse goes for a song at Tatts
King brings up personal milestone
King issues bleak Invictus update
Tatenen chasing December gold
Rocky revved up for Lexus
Sir and Star set for Durkan date
Sandown heat attracts novice stars
Bolster aiming for confidence boost
Hill faces Becher test
3 December 2013British pair head Power weights
Sea sidesteps Exeter date
Madison Du Berlais dies of colic
Huxley retired from the saddle
Lynam hoping for winning Power
Mullins maps Sceaux plan
Wrist injury sidelines Dalton
Bob on World trail
Sacre a doubt for Tingle Creek
Europe sets sail for Leopardstown
Mullins banks on Hurricane progress
Stellar turnout for Lexus
Wishfull heads Sefton contenders
Junior at Becher summit
Fenton big-hitters near return
Tank team consider options
2 December 2013Ferguson swoops for Dancing Rain
Briar camp look to the Future
Super Sprinter set for Sandown
Super puzzle for McCain
Topper to take Sandown test
The Fugue "one to beat" in HK
Persad takes charity challenge
Seek claims Hollywood glory
Jezki strikes in Hatton's Grace
Don delivers in Drinmore
Tank takes Bond thriller
Analifet stakes Triumph claim
Culloty expects Lord progress
Curtis keeps faith in Fishers
Apache set for Navan test
Lexus aim for Lieutenant
King maps out Sandown plan
1 December 2013Hughes just super in Japan
Commander bows out at Newbury
Spender lands second Rehearsal
Triolo floors Rocky in Hennessy
Halo shines in Long Distance
Terrific Tent comes out fighting
Williams strikes with Ballyalton
Green Flag raises game
Don deal for As I Am
Meade hoping for Wood win