Donald McCain Jr’s Richmond Lake can give Jonbon punters further confidence ahead of the Supreme at Kelso on Saturday afternoon as the son of Westener heads the betting for the Grade 2 Premier Novices’ Hurdle.
Brian Hughes’s charge found only the JP McManus gelding too strong at Haydock Park last time but may not have to fear that calibre of opposition this time around north of the border.
A victory here for the late Trevor Hemmings’ representative would be a welcome form boost for the current Festival-opener fourth-favourite, who is unbeaten under rules in a bumper and three hurdle starts.
He will not reoppose the weekend contender, though, whose handler confirmed earlier in the week he would have a sole runner at the Festival in the form of Presentandcounting.
“We’ll have one runner at Cheltenham, I think – Presentandcounting in the Plate (Handicap Chase),” McCain told Racing TV.
“His owner John Turner is a big supporter of Cheltenham and the horse has had his winter break and is ready to crack on with again.”
He said that the removal of the novice handicap chase, usually held on the opening day and replaced by the Mares’ Chase last season, means the yard have less opportunity to saddle hopefuls at Prestbury Park in March.
“If the novice handicap chase was still there I could have had about four runners,” he added.
“They got rid of that race, which is a shame because it produced a lot of a good horses.”