Robbie Power expects Glorious Zoff to bounce back from a surprising defeat last time out and put up a better show in the bet365 Summit Hurdle at Doncaster.
The three-year-old, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, was turned over at 4-11 at Sedgefield when beaten a length and a quarter by Le Magnifique.
Power believes that was not a true reflection of the horse’s ability as Glorious Zoff had created a good impression when winning by 12 lengths at Sligo on his hurdling debut.
“Glorious Zoff was a good winner of his maiden hurdle in Sligo and got beat at short odds in Sedgefield the last day, but things didn’t quite work out for him,” said Power.
“This is a step up in class, but he should be very competitive.”
Monmiral won first time out for trainer Paul Nicholls after leaving Francois Nicolle’s stable in France.
The Saint Des Saints gelding justified favouritism in good style at Exeter last month, having also won on his debut over the smaller obstacles at Auteuil in March.
“I was delighted with his winning debut for us at Exeter, where his jumping was sound and he finished full of running,” the Ditcheat handler told Betfair.
“I hadn’t been hard on him at home and half expected him to maybe need the race a bit because in the back of my mind the Exeter race was going to be a prep for this weekend, either at Doncaster or Cheltenham.
“We think Monmiral is smart and he has definitely improved for the experience.”
Making up the five runners are Oliver Greenall’s Gold Desert, third at Sedgefield behind Glorious Zoff but a winner since at Catterick, plus Heather Main’s Flat maiden Cloud Thunder and Mistersister, a hurdles scorer in France before moving to Charlie Mann’s stable.
Power is also looking forward to continuing his association with Ofalltheginjoints in the bet365 December Novices’ Chase.
The Irish jockey steered the Colin Tizzard-trained six-year-old to victory at Exeter a month ago on his second run over fences.
“He won nicely in Exeter the last day. This is a step up in class obviously to Grade Two company from a handicap, but he seems in good form,” said Power.
“He’s the highest-rated horse in the race, so hopefully he’ll have a good chance.”
Trainer Nick Mitchell is hopeful of a decent display from Milanford.
The six-year-old outran his odds of 66-1 when only beaten a length and three-quarters in second place behind L’Air Du Vent at Exeter three weeks ago.
That was his first run under rules after several point-to-point runs for Thomas Malone.
“He ran to a really good level last time,” said Dorset-based Mitchell.
“The trip and the ground will suit.
“I don’t think it’s beyond him. He’s got plenty of experience through his point to pointing days.”
House Island, trained by Paul Webber, will be a strong fancy after opening his account over fences at Ludlow.
Fergal O’Brien’s Hurricane Harvey made a successful chasing debut at Uttoxeter in October, but was second of three behind Ga Law at Wincanton on his only subsequent start.
The Mighty Don was the other horse declared, but he ran at Cheltenham on Friday and was second to Happygolucky.