Overturn: out to maintain his unbeaten record over fences at MusselburghPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Cheltenham clues on offer on super Sunday
EIGHT days after Cheltenham served up a feast on their Festival Trials day, Musselburgh are set to stage their equivalent on Sunday where the headline act is Racing Post Arkle second favourite Overturn, who bids to enhance his festival credentials in the Scottish Arkle Novices' Chase.
A proven master of all disciplines, Tim Leslie's popular nine-year-old faces three rivals as he bids to stretch his unbeaten record over fences to three and cement his position as the chief threat to Simonsig, already an odds-on favourite for the Cheltenham race.
"Overturn gave us the impression from day one that he would take to fences, and so far so good. Hopefully after this we'll be sitting pretty for Cheltenham," said trainer Donald McCain on Saturday.
Asked how he viewed Simonsig, McCain added."He has been impressive and I've the utmost respect, but I see no reason to be afraid of him. Overturn has such a wonderful record of achievement it wouldn't matter if he never won another race, but he has finished second in a Champion Hurdle and taken so well to chasing that I don't believe we need to be scared of anything."
Simonsig's trainer Nicky Henderson will be flying to Scotland to saddle his Musselburgh team, spearheaded by Overturn's main opponent Tetlami, who would prefer better ground according to Henderson.
He said: "He was very sharp when he schooled the other day and he did jump well at Kempton. He had a wind operation at the beginning of the season and that has helped him. He loves good ground because he can bounce off it, and I fear this may be rather softer than ideal. But he has to go somewhere and we're not going to find any good ground at the moment."
The John Ferguson-trained Assad and Michael Scudamore's Next Sensation complete the line-up.
Sizing Europe: chases back-to-back wins in the Tied Cottage ChasePICTURE: Getty
John Quinn, trainer of last season's JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Countrywide Flame, has several talented juveniles under his wing this year and Kashmir Peak will place his unbeaten record on the line in the John Smith's Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Asked to compare the Market Rasen and Doncaster winner, who is a top-priced 16-1 for the Triumph, with the title holder, Quinn said: "Kashmir Peak shows more speed at home, while Countrywide Flame tends to save that for the racecourse."
The Paul Nicholls-trained Sametegal, a close second to Kashmir Peak when giving the winner 3lb on their last starts at Doncaster, reopposes the winner off level weights.
The ground at Musselburgh was described as good to soft, soft in places on Saturday with little or no rain forecast before Sunday.
There should be plenty of Festival clues to be gleaned on a quality card at Punchestown on Sunday too, where the big names in action include Don Cossack and Sizing Europe.
Don Cossack will be bidding to reignite the Cheltenham dream after taking a tired fall behind Neptune favourite Pont Alexandre last time as he faces five rivals in the Grade 2 Racing UK Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle.
Sizing Europe, the 2011 Champion Chase winner, faces four rivals as he bids for back-to-back wins in the Boylesports.com Tied Cottage Chase.