All eyes will be on last season's leading staying hurdler Thistlecrack when he makes his long-awaited chase debut at Chepstow this afternoon (3.35pm UK). However, Colin Tizzard's stable star is an unbackable 1/9 to make a winning start and we therefore need to look elsewhere for some value.
Alan King's LASER LIGHT may provide it when he runs in opening maiden hurdle on the same card (1.30pm UK), with bookmakers going 4.50 (7/2) that his first attempt over hurdles is a winning one. A ready winner of a Towcester bumper in February, he's reportedly schooled well at home and the forecast rain is another thing in his favour as he shown a preference for ground with cutting it. He looks to have Paul Nicholls' Copain De Classe to beat and some market support would increase confidence further.
But the headline tip goes to his stablemate WISHING AND HOPING, who faces just three rivals in the 2m4f novices' chase at Bangor (2.40pm UK). They include the Dan Skelton-trained Value At Risk, who has been put in as 11/10 favourite despite hardly covered himself in glory in his three runs over the bigger obstacles so far. He fell at the second fence in his debut and clearly remembering that experience was very ponderous over the first on his next start, before departing at the next. He did at least complete on his Uttoxeter reappearance earlier this month, but to only finish fourth after fading was disappointing considering he was sent off at just 4/7 to beat some inferior rivals.
He clearly has something to prove now and the King horse can take advantage. He won his first two starts during his novice hurdling campaign last winter, despite finding the ground softer than ideal on the second of those at Ascot in November, and could do even better now he tackles fences. His in-form trainer certainly thinks so, reporting him to have matured both physically and mentally during his summer break in a Stable Tour, and saying he has jumped well at home. A big, rangy sort, he's likely to be found out by deep winter ground and, with that in mind, King is likely to have him pretty straight for his return to action this autumn, before putting him away for a spring camapign. Today's 'good' is perfect for him and he's a backable price thanks to the presence of the Skelton runner.