One of Britain’s leading hopes for the JCB Triumph Hurdle will bid to enhance his juvenile reputation on Saturday afternoon as Knight Salute aims to maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles.
Milton Harris’s gelding is four from four since his switch to the National Hunt sphere, landing the Festival trial at Prestbury Park back in November before seeing off Porticello at Doncaster a month later.
He partners Paddy Brennan once again and faces a fresh challenge in the form of Paul Nicholls’s Pleasant Man, who makes his Ditcheat debut in the Adonis in Sunbury-on-Thames.
Nicky Henderson’s Impulsive One scored at Musselburgh when last seen and is a live contender here, with Lucy Wadham’s Graystone another at a nice looking each-way price.
Speaking on his contender, Harris told the Racing Post: “That work was sexy.
“He’s a workmanlike horse, which made Tuesday really unusual. His prep has gone really well and we are where we should be going into a competitive race.
“He doesn’t appreciate winter soft ground, he’s much better on decent ground. Some of these horses haven’t had a break, but we’ve aimed ourselves solely at this. He’s the favourite and is running in the right race.”
“I’d be surprised if we weren’t a sharper horse than Porticello, and Gary would probably agree his one is more of a chasing type.
“Porticello wants slower ground than we do, but we still beat him despite the conditions – not because of them – at Doncaster.
“We are what price we are, but what matters is if all goes well on Saturday, it’ll be off to Cheltenham then Aintree. They’re our ultimate goals for the season.”