Duty and Approach clash again
Super Duty and Hadrian's Approach return to Newbury on Wednesday for a very different event to their previous encounter at the Berkshire track.
The pair are among five declared runners for the Coolmation Graduation Chase, having been in action in the Hennessy Gold Cup over a fortnight ago.
While the Nicky Henderson-trained Hadrian's Approach fired jockey Nico de Boinville out of the saddle at the fifth fence, Donald McCain's Super Duty soon lost his place and was pulled-up.
Super Duty was beaten a head as favourite for last season's Kim Muir and connections are looking to give him a confidence-booster.
He's in good form but never seemed happy in the Hennessy, they were always going a bit quick for him, and the main thing is to give him a chance back in a small field," said McCain.
Super Duty does hold an entry in the Coral Welsh Grand National, but the trainer said: "I think it's unlikely he'd run there."
Emma Lavelle is expecting the three-mile affair to be informative regarding the future of Gullinbursti.
The smart hurdler was unable to get his head in front during his first season over fences but bolted up on his comeback at Market Rasen in November before finishing fifth to Gevrey Chambertin at Haydock.
"He seems great and after he won first-time-out I sent him to Haydock for the big fixed brush handicap," said Lavelle.
"He didn't run badly but I think it's his jumping that gives him an advantage, so I'm looking forward to seeing him back over fences.
"It's a competitive race, but it should tell us whether we continue in handicap chases or go back down the novice route."
Rebecca Curtis has decided O'Faolains Boy will make his chasing debut under Rules here.
Although a winner of an Irish point, the six-year-old was hurdling last season, scoring three times and winding up with a fourth behind very smart stablemate At Fishers Cross at the Cheltenham Festival.
The final member of the field is Poungach, who was fourth on his reappearance in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton, and is another entered in the Welsh National.
Trainer Paul Nicholls told his latest Betfair broadcast: "He ran OK in the Badger Ales on his debut first-time-out and he's really looking for a trip and some soft ground."