There is the prospect of strong winds and heavy rain to sweep across Britain on Wednesday but that is the last of the significant rain ahead of next week’s Cheltenham Festival. The ground is likely to be on the soft side of good for next Tuesday’s opening Supreme Novice Hurdle but good for the Gold Cup on Friday week. If the current forecast is correct.

They go at Exeter this afternoon and Bardd has been raised 6lbs for finishing runner up to One More Fleurie at Warwick last time, but that form was franked at Doncaster over the weekend when the winner sluiced up. Bardd remains a maiden over jumps, however, and he is not guaranteed to build on that effort despite jumping out to his right on occasions in the midlands.

It is hard to get away from Five Star Getaway (1.00) who landed a touch at Wincanton last week and looks sure to take a big hike in the weights when reassessed this morning. He is likely to take plenty of beating despite carrying a 7lbs penalty for that fluent success. The opening 2s with William Hill looked attractive but he was backed all rates down to 11/10 with 10bet on Monday evening.

Aye Aye Charlie would be something to bet on in the 3m handicap chase if you could rely on a clear round from Fergal O’Brien’s 9-y-old who is very well treated on his hurdles form. That said he is not yet a natural jumper of a fence.

Larkbarrow Lad has had his wind operated on since finishing weakly at Ludlow last time and is now 7lbs lower in the weights than when finishing a good fourth at Wincanton on his chase debut back in the autumn. He must go close but Zyon (2.40) gets the vote on his chase debut for Paul Nicholls having ran out a fluent winner over hurdles at Wincanton back in November returning from a lengthy absence. The grey -7/2 with Unibet – clearly goes well fresh, looks as if he needs to go right-handed and has the scope to make his mark over fences.

Sandford Castle (3.10) appeared to pull himself up at Chepstow last time when nabbed close home but is in the form of his life and Kevin Brogan will be keen not to play his mount too early this afternoon from a 4lbs higher mark. The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – has a good course record, without winning, although he would not want the ground to dry out too much. The forecast good to soft ground is ideal.

Powerstown Park (3.40) ran a terrific race in a Jumpers’ Bumper at Lingfield last month and the hope is that he can build on that effort back over timber from an attractive looking mark of just 90. That was the eight-year-old’s first start since July 2019, and he could “bounce”, but he has been given three weeks to get over that effort and Sam Thomas remains in excellent form. He has bits of form which suggest he could be very well treated at present. The 15/8 with BetVictor looked about right on Monday evening.

At Newcastle, the bookies saviour Gallahers Cross (2.50) drops back in trip having pulled too hard and failed to get home over 2m 6f at Musselburgh last time when the third leg of a well-orchestrated coup. The selection – 11/4 with William Hill – travelled through the race like a well handicapped rival and this intermediate distance of 2m 4f should be ideal.

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