One horse, one jockey, one trainer and one race to watch on Friday
Colin Tizzard is hoping Tolworth Novices' Hurdle winner Fiddlerontheroof can kickstart what has been a slow start to the season for his yard when he attempts to return to winning ways in the Grade 2 Sky Bet Noel Novices' Chase at Ascot (3.05).
The six-year-old is held in high regard but has made a slightly underwhelming start to his chasing career, finishing second to If The Cap Fits and Caribean Boy either side of a gallant victory at Exeter.
However, Tizzard may be fearful of the Evan Williams-trained Bold Plan, who turned over another of the stable's leading novice chasers, The Big Breakaway, two weeks ago, while Pic D'Orhy and Allart offer stern opposition.
Rachael Blackmore had already ridden 58 winners in Ireland prior to Thursday's racing and she has several exciting rides on a quality card at Navan.
The first-named was only narrowly beaten by Willie Mullins' Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow when probably needing further than the two-mile trip at Gowran Park, while Holymacapony is looking to back up his exciting hurdling debut win at Punchestown last month.
Blackmore also rides the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Punitive (11.30), Not Available (12.30) and Lord Erskine (2.10) as she aims to extend her slim lead over Paul Townend in the Irish champion jump jockey standings.
Although Ascot dominates the coverage on ITV4, Navan's card will likely prove just as informative for the remainder of the season and Gordon Elliott is expected to have a big say.
Elliott saddles 12 runners across the eight-race card, including two in the feature Grade 2 BetVictor Make Your Best Bet Novice Hurdle.
Fakiera, a second-season novice, must give weight away to all following his late surge to win a Grade 3 over course and distance last month, while stablemate Eskylane is stepping up in trip after finishing fifth of six in another Grade 3.
Elliott has won the Future Champions Listed event in four of the last five seasons with Death Duty (2015), Samcro (2016), Rapid Escape (2017) and Envoi Allen (2018) and relies upon Sir Gerhard, a £400,000 purchase for Cheveley Park who left a lasting impression on his stable debut at Down Royal when bolting up by 14 lengths. He is the 4-1 ante-post favourite for the Champion Bumper.
There could be some movement in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle market following the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle (2.30) at Ascot.
In-form trainer Tom Symonds runs Llandinabo Lad, who has won both of his starts over hurdles including a Listed contest at Haydock last time out.
My Drogo was an impressive winner at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting at Newbury for Dan Skelton, while Nicky Henderson runs No Ordinary Joe, who has yet to run over hurdles but is nonetheless available at 25-1 with several leading bookmakers for the Supreme.
The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Soaring Glory cannot be discounted with Shantou Express and Press Your Luck making up the six-strong field.
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