Chesterfield will bid to complete a valuable handicap hurdle three-timer in the £100,000 G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on the third and final day of The November Meeting, Sunday, November 19.
Chesterfield (Seamus Mullins, 10st 11lb) ended last season in the form of his life, capturing the Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle at Aintree's Randox Health Grand National Festival before doubling up in the G2 Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr - after which he was awarded a rating of 148.
The eight-year-old also boasts winning course and distance form at The November Meeting, having captured what is now the Fairlight Books Novices' Handicap Hurdle in 2014 for former trainer John Ferguson.
Mullins, who paid £32,000 for Chesterfield at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale in April last year, said today: "Chesterfield is very well and is all set for Cheltenham next week.
"We did have a look at the Welsh Champion Hurdle but the heavy ground put us off.
"He is fresh and well, and the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle was our primary pre-Christmas objective anyway. It would have been nice to have a run beforehand but it wasn't to be.
"We bought the horse from John Ferguson last year, who was very open about his injury, so we spent last season nursing him back quietly, starting off small and building him up.
"We didn't see much of his first run at Ascot because that was in the fog and then two miles and five furlongs in the Lanzarote Hurdle was probably too far for him as he didn't settle very well.
"We gave him a little break after that before taking him to Newbury in March where he was second to a well-handicapped horse.
"All the way along he was gradually coming back to himself and then when he blossomed in the spring, it helped that we were at the right end of the handicap as well. He certainly didn't surprise us at Aintree and it wasn't a massive surprise at Ayr either.
"He is up to 148 now and it is always a tough ask in these G3 handicap hurdles, but he has to prove to us that he isn't still improving because there is always a chance that he still is.
"Our other entry, Song Light (9st 9lb), is very unlikely to run. I am going to step him up to two and half miles. I think he is crying out for it having won over two miles on the Flat this year. I feel some of those two-mile handicap hurdles worry him a bit, so I want to slow things down for him." Chesterfield is 16/1 chance with Unibet, with JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil (Philip Hobbs, 11st 6lb) topping the market at 7/1.
The weights are headed by three-time G2 Unibet International Hurdle victor The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 11st 12lb).
Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle - Unibet prices: 7/1 Defi Du Seuil; 8/1 Divin Bere; 12/1 Call Me Lord, Campeador, Elgin; 14/1 Charli Parcs, Misterton; 16/1 Chesterfield, Flying Tiger, Jenkins, Lough Derg Spirit, Mick Jazz, Mohaayed, Tigris River, 20/1 bar. For a full list of Unibet odds on the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, please click here - https://www.unibet.co.uk/betting#racing/event/1004321244
The November Meeting starts on Countryside Day, Friday, November 17, continues on BetVictor Gold Cup Day, Saturday, November 18 when the highlight is the £160,000 G3 BetVictor Gold Cup, and concludes with The November Meeting Sunday.