Ferdy Murphy is keeping his fingers crossed for a dry spell of weather as he prepares Divers for a return to the scene of his greatest triumph.
The nine-year-old won the Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2011 and returned to the track to finish a creditable fourth in the Byrne Group Plate last term. That two-mile-five-furlong heat is his target once again this term.
Divers' preparation has been far from ideal, with heavy ground limiting him to just three starts all winter, but Murphy was satisfied with his recent third at Musselburgh on good ground and believes he could be on handy mark of 135, some 7lb lower than last year.
The Yorkshire handler said: "The Byrne Group Plate is the target for him and hopefully we'll get a bit of decent ground. It's been a terrible winter and the owners were happy to wait for decent ground and prepare him for the Festival.
"We gave him a run at Musselburgh, which helped, and he seems to be in good form. He has dropped down the weights a little, but he's on a nice mark now - an attractive mark, I would say - and he should get in the race off that."
De Boitron is also entered in the Grade Three heat, but a largely indifferent campaign has seen him drop to a rating of 130 and Murphy may instead direct him to the three-mile JLT Specialty Chase.
"De Boitron might not get in the Byrne Group Plate but he's entered in the JLT race, too. We will look at the options nearer the time, but it may be the JLT for him," he said.
"Riguez Dancer is entered in the JLT, but I think the Kim Muir is the race for him. He's dropped down the weights a bit, but he wants better ground. Nico de Boinville rode him last time and got on well with him, but I'd think he will be required elsewhere, so we'll probably bring an Irish amateur over for the ride.
"Poker De Sivola is very well and fresh (ahead of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase). He finished sixth in the race a couple of years ago, but we were using that as a prep for something else to sweeten him up.
"We had been looking to the Grand National with him but he won't get in this year, so this is the target. The plan is the cross-country race and then we'll put him away for the year and work towards the Becher in November and then, hopefully, the National. He's a classy horse."
19 April 2015Russell praise for 'brave' Forrit
O'Brien fails alcohol test
Flight grounds Gladness rivals
Hannon optimistic for Classics
York aim for Lucky Kristale
Perfect could try longer trip
Dettori has high hopes for Osaila
Cox upbeat despite Bear setback
Gosden sets sights on Sandown
Mogol finished for season
Cops team mull chase option
Hootenanny shines at Keeneland
Foxrock inquiry hears evidence
Intilaaq picks up Derby quotes
Parrott hails Prince among men
Muhaarar shakes up Classic picture
Cheltenian show just Champion
Redstart shocks Tiggy and co
Spring back with a bang
18 April 2015Harrington filly takes Navan prize
Ayaar another for in-form Dettori
Gamble pays off for Lee
Ground scuppers favourite Oscar
Hatch suffers Ayr misfortune
Mullins - Aintree fallers fine
Victory giving off right signs
Milborough team eye dream result
Harrington fined at Tipperary
Balding happy with Elm spin
Junior continues on upgrade
Newmarket target for Secret
Spring back into action
Gosden has Oaks in mind for Star
Sruthan chasing Curragh repeat
'Relaxed' Tiggy raring to go
17 April 2015Forrit poised to be National hero
Irving leads Champion charge
Belardo bids for Greenham glory
Days seeking further Success
No prep plans for Malabar
McCoy's Ayr mount withdrawn
Benoist in Al Shaqab link
No Cheltenham fairytale for McCoy
Navy sinks Sefton field
Kool result for Hannon
Cape clears away to score
Fleet-footed Astaire takes Abernant
Dutch delight for Hills
Ooty Hill returns at Newbury
Stellar field declared for Greenham
16 April 2015McCoy takes on McManus at Ayr
My neck is in a mess - Condon
News set for Bath raid
Epsom an option for Dolniya
Yarmouth opening held back
Oscar nominated for Ayr raid
Time for Tiggy in Fred Darling
Titania earmarked for Curragh
Don could still pack a Punch
Navy sets sail in Sefton
Protectionist to stay in training
Rock rolls to Heritage success
Brave upsets Faydhan at HQ
McManus buys Ayr favourite Oscar
O'Brien back in the winners
Hawke delights as Turge swoops
Osaila hangs on in Nell Gwyn
Found heads Oaks squad for O'Brien
Mullins big guns set for Festival
Mullins duo on course for battle