Paul Nicholls is expecting a big run from Modus, who was last seen finishing sixth in the Coral Cup.
Yet the seven-year-old was an impressive winner of the Lanzarote Hurdle on his penultimate start in the colours of JP McManus.
He has never won a Graded race, but he was just under two lengths off taking the Champion Bumper from Moon Racer.
Good ground is set to play to his strengths, whilst the trip should be ideal for the ten time hurdle winner.
“He had been in good form all season and we were happy with how he ran in Cheltenham.
“The conditions look great for him, and we are expecting a big run from him.”
|The New One||5/2|
|Volnay De Thaix||14/1|
Nicholls also runs last year’s winner Ptit Zig, and the experienced Old Guard.
“Ptit Zig won the race last year, but he has probably got a bit more to do with The New One this year,” said the Ditcheat trainer.
“He’ll be a bit better for the run at Aintree and will be better going right handed. He likes Sandown too. Old Guard has been struggling a little bit, but running really well. He won’t mind the ground either.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies insists that a step-up in trip could benefit The New One, who takes on seven rivals in Sandown’s Select Hurdle.
The nine-year-old kicked off the season picking up his third International Hurdle prize at Cheltenham, and finished fifth in the Champion Hurdle at the Festival in March.
He stepped-up to 2m4f at Aintree last time out, and Sam Twiston-Davies will go another furlong aboard the former Grade One winner.
He has ran in the last four renewals of the Champion Hurdle, and has only finished in the top three once.
“We’ve decided to go a bit further in trip with him this year,” said the Naunton handler. “He’s been running well all season for us, but we just want to see how he gets on. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes there, it’s a good race.”
Nicky Henderson is set to send four runners to Sandown. L’Ami Serge finished second in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham on his penultimate start.
“L’Ami Serge is in good form for us and he ran a very good race at Cheltenham,” said Henderson.
Last time at Ayr he really struggled to get into the race. It was a funny race and he just struggled in it, so it didn’t really count as a race. He will get the trip and he is in good form and should have a good chance.”
Rather Be battled on to win at Aintree earlier this month, and is raised in grade after defeating 22 runners at the Lancashire track. Whilst Two time Grade One winner Beat That makes his first start in two years, and Volnay De Thaix was last seen pulling-up at Kempton two months ago.
“Rather Be is very progressive, and this is a bit of a step up in class for him. He seems to be in good form too. Beat That is coming back off a huge break and I can’t help but think that he may need the run. He’s done plenty of work, and the same applies to Volnay De Thaix.”