It is all about Yanworth for Alan King at Cheltenham on Tuesday and the trainer will be hoping to start the week strongly with Midnight Maestro, who runs in less exalted company on Monday but carrying the same green and gold hoops.
Wayne Hutchinson takes over from the injured Barry Geraghty on the JP McManus-owned five-year-old, who he beat into second when on board stablemate Sir Anthony Browne at Wincanton last month.
While Midnight Maestro steps out of novice company for the first time, Late Night Lily drops back in grade for this qualifier for the Challenger Two Mile Hurdle Final after her bid for a four-timer ended in a Grade 2 at Doncaster when last of five to Vroum Vroum Mag.
Noel Fehily, who takes on Yanworth when riding Buveur D'Air in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, pilots Brotherly Company, who returns from a six-month absence with trainer Harry Fry hoping for a return to the kind of form that enabled him to finish second over course and distance in the summer.
Bleu Et Noir is the only one to have won at Stratford before, having been victorious over course and distance in June. He was second on his other visit.
Tim Vaughan, trainer of Bleu Et Noir
He’s had a nice break through the winter and goes there fresh and well. It’s his first time in a handicap so we’ll know a little bit more about him after this. He’s a free-running sort who likes to get on with it and has always run well around Stratford.
Dan Skelton, trainer of Late Night Lily and Workbench
Late Night Lily will run but it could be too soft for her. She’s a really nice filly and in much better form than she was at Doncaster in January. I’m really happy with her but there’s that little bit of caution over the ground. Workbench needs to find his form again. He does it on his own terms.
John Quinn, trainer of El Beau
I gave him a break after he ran at Wetherby, where he was a bit disappointing. He seems well, has got form on all sorts of ground and hopefully will run his race.
Alan King, trainer of Midnight Maestro
I was pleased with his last run at Wincanton. The soft ground will not be a problem, he’s in good order and hopefully he’ll run well.
Brian Ellison, trainer of Barrys Jack
This is his first run for me and he’ll go alright on the ground, which is on the soft side. He’s not the quickest, so the surface will help.