Bullets loaded for Game Spirit
Paul Nicholls is "excited" about Dodging Bullets as the Arkle candidate puts his credentials on the line in the Game Spirit at Newbury.
Bred by Frankie Dettori, he was a decent juvenile hurdler and finished fourth in the Triumph Hurdle behind Countrywide Flame and then had a second season over timber last year but by the time of the spring festivals he had lost his form.
With his attentions switched to chasing this season he has looked a different proposition altogether, winning three in a row.
He holds a verdict over Raya Star from Cheltenham in November and the two meet again, while he easily disposed of Grandouet at Kempton over Christmas.
"You can ignore last season and I thought he was very impressive at Kempton," said Nicholls.
"We're aiming for the Arkle and I think the track will suit him. I'm quite excited about him and he could make up into a smart two-miler."
Alan King has emerged from his spell in the doldrums and hopes a 5lb turn around at the weights will enable Raya Star to get much closer to the likely favourite.
King told his website: "He worked well last weekend and schooled nicely on Thursday, and I hope they go a decent gallop as he seems best coming off the pace in a fast-run two-miler."
Tom George has two runners in Module and Majala, Donald McCain's Desert Cry steps up into graded class and Charlie Mann's Lord Of House completes the field.