Allmankind will revert to hurdling at Chepstow when he makes his seasonal debut in the Geoffrey Broomhall Memorial Handicap Hurdle.
Dan Skelton’s five-year-old was a Grade One hurdles winner over this course and distance, before successfully graduating to fences last season – successful again at the top level, and then twice in Grade Two company either side of a fourth-placed effort in the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Skelton is aiming Allmankind at Aintree’s Old Roan Chase at the end of this month and is keen to ensure he has Saturday’s run under his belt beforehand.
“I can’t find a chase to run him in before the Old Roan, so we need to get a run into him,” said the Alcester trainer.
“He will handle a bit of decent ground, but I’d have to make sure it is that.
“He will need the run, not because he is not fit – I have done as much as I can with him – it’s just that he is a heavy horse and he needed the run last year at Cheltenham.
“I remember going to Cheltenham with him last year, telling everyone I thought he would win, but he needed the first run quite badly.
“There’s no point me pretending this year will be different, so a bit of a word of warning there!”
Skelton is also represented on the card in the Grade Three Wasdell Group Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, by Proschema.
The chestnut was victorious four times – including two jumpers’ bumpers – before his summer break, having improved a stone in the ratings to finish his campaign on 142.
“Proschema goes for the Silver Trophy, and I am very happy with him,” added Skelton in his blog for Ladbrokes.
“This has been the target since he came back in. It’s a great trip and track for him – the ground is really suitable, and I can’t wait to run him.”
Among Proschema’s opponents is Jamie Snowden’s Chapmanshype, a six-time hurdles winner back over timber after a brief spell chasing through the summer.
“He’s got a great strike-rate and win-to-run ratio – he certainly knows how to win his races,” said Snowden.
“He reached the ceiling of his hurdling ability and then won over fences, but unfortunately didn’t really progress over fences.
“Back over hurdles, he ran a good race the last day to finish second off the same handicap mark he’s on now. He’s not handicapped to win, but he should run a nice race.”
Snowden also has a contender in the Listed Dunraven Windows Novices’ Chase, courtesy of Kiltealy Briggs.
The seven-year-old was last seen fishing ninth of 21 in the hugely-competitive Paddy Power Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, and retains his novice status having run well without winning over fences last season.
“Kiltealy Briggs is a second-season novice chaser who ran well in a couple of novice chases last year,” added Snowden.
“He’s done very well for the summer, (and) he should improve and be progressive this season.
“This is a nice starting point, but it looks a very competitive race – so hopefully he can blow away the cobwebs and have a decent rest of the season.”
In opposition, Richard Newland’s Captain Tom Cat bids to return to winning form, having racked up a summer hat-trick before finishing fifth in the Grade Three Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July.
“For Captain Tom Cat, this has been the plan for some time,” said Newland.
“We gave him a break after Market Rasen; we’ve brought him back, and he’s trained well.
“We’ll just have to see if he’s up to this level, because it’s a big step up in class, but he’s very consistent and seems to love his jumping.
“I’m very happy with him. The ground is suitable, but it’s obviously stiff competition, so we’ll have to see whether he can deliver.”