Oliver Sherwood is optimistic about Sevarano’s chances in pursuing the newbie Boats of London Reynoldstown to Ascot.
With outpost directors The Big Breakaway and If The Cap Fits notable defectors at Thursday’s statement stage, Sherwood believes his rep has a “favorite chance” of winning Saturday’s sophomore contest.
“I guess one or two of them maybe didn’t want to run and leave their Cheltenham behind, when our horse wasn’t even registered at Cheltenham and was not going to go there voluntarily,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.
A talented hurdler last season, Sevarano looks likely to reach even higher heights on the fences, having won two of his first three starts this season.
He could only finish fourth in his last Newbury appearance in December, but Sherwood has a valid excuse.
He added: “What happened at Newbury was unfortunate. He slipped into the first fence, and that pissed him off, but he had a great education Thursday morning and he’s in a really good position.
“Now is the time to step up the trip – I’m dying to do it – and he handled that kind of terrain over the odds last year. He’s a tall, strong boy, now eight years old – and I’m sure he’ll take care of that.
“I’m very happy with him, and he doesn’t get a penalty for his two wins this season because they were handicaps.
“I think he’s going with a chance of a favorite.”
A peloton of six is led by Hurricane Harvey formed by Fergal O’Brien, who faces a 5lb penalty for winning the December sophomore novice pursuit in Doncaster last time around.
“He has to take a penalty, which is not ideal, but there are not many options for him,” said O’Brien.
“There was a novice handicap in Doncaster next week, but again he would lose weight.
“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It was great to win a second year with him, but it makes the rest of the season more difficult. Having said that, you take a second year each time.
“It’s a rich man’s problem, as they say.”
David Pipe’s remastered faces a leap forward in class after winning his first two starts over the fences at Carlisle and Wetherby.
Pipe said: “He’s got a bit to find on the official notes, but he likes soft ground, three miles around Ascot will be ideal – and he jumps well.
“It was a pretty decent race that he first won over the fences at Carlisle and then it was just a two-horse race he won at Wetherby but he deserves to give it a shot and on terms that suit him.
Full Back is in a similar boat after winning at Plumpton and Exeter for Gary Moore, who said: “I hope he’s doing great. He wouldn’t want too much rain, he just doesn’t like too heavy I know he won on heavier ground, but he got off a bit.
“He’s in a good position, and that has always been the goal, so I hope he can give a good account of himself.”
Demachine (Kerry Lee) and Kalooki (Philip Hobbs) complete the line-up.