Final declarations have been made for Saturday's Unibet International Hurdle (3.05pm), and Willie Mullins’ Melon will take his place in the field.
He was second at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals and has won both other racecourse starts either side, so he will be tough to beat.
However, in THE NEW ONE he faces a battle-hardened nine-year-old in search of a record fourth win in this valuable contest.
Any rain that falls at Cheltenham between now and then will only aid his cause, with career form figures on ground softer or worse that read 1122111F1114.
He can be backed at 7/4 which seems fair enough for me in a race that seems to suit him so well.
Melon will obviously pose a threat, but he isn’t certain to get past a rejuvenated The New One.
Finally, I am slightly feeling in the dark when it comes to who will run in the Junior Jumpers Handicap Chase (1.20pm) over two miles.
If former Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy does take his chance off topweight, Charlie Longsdon’s BENTELIMAR will sneak in with just 10st 4lbs on his back.
He caught the eye on his debut for the yard here last month and the drop back in trip on this ground looks just what he wants.
Whether he has the class to beat some of these remains to be seen, but he has no weight and has been given a chance by the handicapper.
POINTERS - SATURDAY
Bentelimar e/w 1.20pm Cheltenham
The New One 3.05pm Cheltenham