1. Is More really all That?
Is there going to be More of That or have we seen the best already? The BetVictor Gold Cup (2.25pm) on Saturday, more commonly known as the Paddy Power Gold Cup, should answer many questions, including whether the 2014 World Hurdle hero is likely to prove as good over fences.
More of That won novice chases at around two and a half miles at Cheltenham on his first two starts last season and then seemed to have a valid excuse (reportedly bled) when only third in the RSA Chase.
He still has potential over the larger obstacles, however his opening handicap mark of 154 is stiff enough for what he’s actually achieved in this sphere.
Another potential negative for backing him is the form of the Jonjo O’Neill yard. It’s so cold it has the dreaded ‘snowflake’ on the Timeform Race Card.
We’re siding with As de Mee who is potentially well handicapped on his best form (including when a close second to More of That) and represents the red-hot Paul Nicholls yard.
2. Has Dan Skelton the Midas Touch?
We’ll find out when Corrin Wood lines up for the Listed handicap hurdle (3.00pm) on Saturday. After winning his first three starts over fences in 2013/14, before running in the RSA, Corrin Wood looked more like dead-wood for most of the past few seasons.
His handicap mark has been in free-fall as a result, though, and the switch from Donald McCain to Dan Skelton represents a “trainer uplift” on the Timeform Race Card. We’re willing to gamble on the gelding bouncing back to form.
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3. Are Ballyandy and Moon Racer, the best of the Bumper crop?
The last two winners of the Champion Bumper at the Festival clash in Sunday’s Supreme Novices’ Trial (Sharp) at 12.45pm.
This pair already met over hurdles this season, with Moon Racer beating Ballyandy by three-quarters of a length in a Perth novice hurdle in September, but can David Pipe’s gelding maintain his superiority on 4 lb worse terms?
This is by no means a two-horse race. Paul Nicholls runs Movewiththetimes and Alan King runs Keep In Line, both unbeaten under National Hunt Rules.
4. Will Henry De Bromhead out Fox the Potts?
Fox Norton absolutely hacked up in a Cheltenham handicap chase on his return and has since been bought out of the Neil Mulholland yard by owners Alan and Ann Potts, who have sent him to their new ally Colin Tizzard.
Will it prove money well spent? The Fox goes on the run again in the Schloer Chase (1.55pm) on Sunday, in which the one to beat on form is Special Tiara, who represents the Henry de Bromhead yard that lost 13 horses owned by the Potts in September.
Twelve months on from pulling one rabbit out of his hat when Sprinter Sacre won this race, Nicky Henderson tries to repeat the trick when another injury-plagued veteran, Simonsig, makes just his second start over fences since winning the 2013 Arkle.
5. Is Escape A Winter Warmer in the Greatwood Hurdle?
Finally, the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (2.30pm) on Sunday should enlighten us as to whether those who have backed the highly-touted and unbeaten Winter Escape at big prices for the 2017 Champion Hurdle will be kept warm by their betting slips over the next few months.
He’s in our 10 to Follow this season, but he’s probably short enough in the betting for this reappearance. Better value can be had backing Modus, Leoncavallo or even Mad Jack Mytton.