Trainer David Pipe could upset the odds and pick up a second Kim Muir Chase win with outside shot Buddy Bolero on Thursday.
The eight-year-old is considered a tricky ride for an amateur jockey but fewer pilots in this race have the ability of Katie Walsh.
The gelding was fourth in the National Hunt Chase at last year’s event and recently returned to winning ways over hurdles after some poor showings at Kempton and Sandown.
Pipe won this event in 2011 with Junior and while his charge remains an outside bet at 14/1, anything is possible with Walsh in the saddle.
Leading the betting, however, is Indian Castle, who bids to give Donald McCain Junior his third win in this race after success for Cloudy Lane (2007) and subsequent Grand National victor Ballabriggs (2010).
The six-year-old has won six of his last eight races including the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase over 2m5f at Cheltenham on his last outing.
The longer trip shouldn’t pose any issues for McCain’s charge and if any jockey in the field can challenge Walsh’s ability it is Derek O’Connor.
And with the week he’s having, Willie Mullins’ Balnaslow is also worth consideration at 9/1.
Vantour gave the Irishman a winner in the opening race of the Festival and Quevega’s record breaking exploits in the Mares’ Hurdle, followed by Faugheen’s triumph in the Neptune, made it three wins at time of writing.
Patrick Mullins gets the ride in the father-son combo and while Balnaslow has not convinced of late, this high-profile duo stick out like a red flag on the list of runners and riders.
The seven-year-old picked up a useful win at Thurles towards the end of last year and reached the frame from a solid field at Gowran Park on his last outing.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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