While most eyes will be on Champions Day at Ascot and what promises to be a thrilling climax to the flat season, there is also plenty of jumps action to look forward to this afternoon.
Ffos Las stages a seven-race card and the feature Welsh Champion Hurdle (due off 4.10pm UK) houses today's best bet in the shape of the Dan Skelton-trained and appropriately named WELSH SHADOW. He has long had this race as his target and therefore is unlikely to lack for fitness on his first run back since justifying odds-on favouritism at Ayr in April.
That success capped a fine season over hurdles for the six-year-old, who finished second on his debut behind another smart recruit in Yanworth before getting off the mark in Listed company at Haydock on his next start. He went on to finish a highly creditable fifth in the Grade 1 Neptune Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. All that was a bonus as he's bred to be better over fences, being from the same family as smart chaser Celestial Gold, and a novice chase campaign beckons.
He could prove to be a very smart performer over the bigger obstacles, but his trainer will be keen to start him off with a victory over hurdles in this race. Why? It's sponsored by track owner Dai Walters, who also owns the horse, and he will have gone to great lengths to ensure that conditions are suitable for the return of his pride and joy, who has shown a marked preference for some cut in the ground.
Skelton confirmed the long-held plan and the horse's participation this week when saying: "I've spoken to Dai and they're doing plenty of watering so he'll run. As soon as this race was moved to this date we targeted Welsh Shadow at it."
There are one or two in the field who could spoil things and they include the Paul Nicholls-trained Tommy Silver, who was a fair juvenile last season and has his best days ahead of him, and the race-fit Hassle, who is chasing a hat-trick. But the selection, who is providing Davy Russell with his first ride for the stable (won't be the last), will have been primed to get the job done.
Ffos Las race 5, Welsh Shadow @ 2.87 (15/8) with bet365