Top Notch a Scilly bet?

Views from connections ahead of the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

Top Notch: Heads to Sandown

Top Notch bids to continue his winning run over fences and give his connections a better idea of his Cheltenham target when he lines-up for the Betfred TV Scilly Isles Novices' Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old has notched up a hat-trick of successes at Warwick, Plumpton and Ascot.

His last victory was seven weeks ago and he makes his return in a Grade One contest ahead of a possible tilt at Cheltenham, where he has several options.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him run again," said Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.

"Obviously it will be really testing ground but he has got good form on that, so I don't think that should be a concern for him.

"He has jumped really well all season, but it is a big step up into Grade One company.

"We will see where we are with him and it will give us an idea as to what we do next. He has got entries everywhere at Cheltenham.

"I hope he will run well enough to deserve a chance in one of the Grade Ones at Cheltenham, whether that is the Arkle or JLT, I don't know.

"He is not the biggest and we have always thought he will come unstuck, but he hasn't done so far and deserves a shot at it.

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"If he gets firmly put in his place, we might re-think the whole thing.

"He is one of my favourite horses the owners have got. He is such a bonny little horse that puts a lot in."

Le Prezien defeated L'Ami Serge, who was representing the Top Notch connections, when triumphant at Exeter on his latest start seven weeks ago.

He also had Top Notch a length back in third when the pair were placed behind Charbel on their chasing debuts at Uttoxeter in October.

The six-year-old, who is trained by Paul Nicholls, returns to the fray and is reported to be in fine shape.

"It's a step up for him, but he's in good form and Paul is very happy with him. Hopefully, he'll run well," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.

Nicholls also runs Clan Des Obeaux and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies feels his mount has solid claims on the back of finishing a close second to the Henderson-trained Whisper in the Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

"He ran a really solid race there and bumping into Whisper is no negative at all," Twiston-Davies told At The Races.

"If we'd have winged two out that day, you could have said it might have been a different story. He just got in very tight, it was a bit of a miscommunication, and he did stay on strongly to the line.

"I don't see Sandown's jumping test being any problem and hopefully he can put up a big performance."

Gary Moore accepts Baron Alco faces a stiff task, but believes jumping is his forte and that should stand him in good stead.

"He's got a bit on his plate and the ground is probably not ideal for him, but he's off a mark that entitles him to be in the race," said the West Sussex trainer.

"It is an opportunity and his greatest asset is his jumping. One thing you need to do round Sandown is jump and that's why he's going there."

The five runners are completed by Johnny Farrelly's Amore Alato, who wears cheekpieces for the first time.

He is on a bit of a retrieval mission after finishing a well-beaten third behind Royal Vacation in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Amore Alato had previously won an intermediate chase over three miles on this course in November.

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