El Viento ended a slightly frustrating spell of placed efforts last month and can keep on the winning trail in the Download The New Unibet Racing App Handicap at Wolverhampton.
Richard Fahey’s seven-year-old got his head in front at Sandown in August but then notched up a string of four second places and a fourth before coming good again at Lingfield.
His consistency saw him continue to sneak up the weights without actually getting his head in front, but he proved a mark of 88 was no bar to success when seeing off Mythmaker by three-quarters of a length in what was a really decent event of its kind.
The handicapper obviously viewed that as a decent effort as he has raised El Viento by 4lb but given he was rated 98 a couple of seasons ago, the current perch should not be beyond his capabilities.
O O Seven can stake his Cheltenham Festival claims in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, the feature event on the first day of Sandown’s Tingle Creek meeting.
The five-year-old won one of his three bumper starts last term but found the championship event at the Festival beyond him when well down the field back in March.
However, he bounced back from that defeat in the best possible way with a wide-margin win over hurdles on his reappearance last month.
Nicky Henderson’s charge was sent off the 4-7 favourite at Huntingdon and he won in a manner befitting his price, strolling home by 13 lengths without coming under any pressure at all.
That may not have been the strongest event but he could little more than win and he is well thought of by his trainer.
Wild Bill looked a decent prospect when winning at Doncaster last week and can make a quick return pay in the Amlin Insurance Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
He must shoulder a 7lb penalty for that victory but the manner of his win suggests the extra burden should not prove too much of an issue.
Chadic is the pick in the opening Aspen Insurance Juvenile Hurdle as he makes his debut for John Ferguson.
A winner of three of his 18 starts for Mark Johnston, this Echo Of Light gelding appeared to go off the boil towards the end of his Flat campaign but the addition of obstacles can reignite his fire.
Vyta Du Roc can make it a double for Henderson by lifting the Harry Dutfield Memorial Novices’ Chase at Exeter.
The six-year-old was among the top rank over hurdles last term, winning twice in Grade Two company before going down by just a neck when tried at the highest level in the Challow Hurdle.
He went on to finish fourth in the Neptune at the Festival, where a last-flight blunder proved very costly indeed, before rolling on to Aintree.
His 13-length defeat at the hands of Thistlecrack there now reads slightly better in light of that one’s recent Newbury effort and Vyta Du Roc looks a top-class recruit to the chasing ranks.
Conas Taoi has demonstrated an aptitude for a long-distance task and is the choice in the Brewin Dolphin Marathon Handicap Chase.
Exmoor Challenge can strike gold in the Happy Birthday John Paxton Novices’ Handicap Chase at Sedgefield.
Exeter: 12.40 Buckboru, 1.10 Otago Trail, 1.40 Conas Taoi, 2.15 Mr Mix, 2.50 Maria’s Choice, 3.20 Vyta Du Roc, 3.50 Golden Gate Bridge.
Sandown: 1.00 Chadic, 1.30 Artifice Sivola, 2.05 Wild Bill, 2.40 O O Seven, 3.10 Quinz, 3.40 Mr Fickle.
Sedgefield: 12.20 Exactly What, 12.50 Southsea Island, 1.20 Gunner Lindley, 1.55 Exmoor Challenge, 2.30 Ardmay, 3.00 Whiskey Chaser, 3.30 Final Fling.
Wolverhampton: 4.10 Pacommand, 4.45 Taqdeer, 5.15 Clary, 5.45 Menelik, 6.15 EL VIENTO (NAP), 6.45 What A Party, 7.15 Nonios, 7.45 Vivre La Reve.
Double: El Viento and O O Seven.