FERDY MURPHY is on course to land the Singer & Friedlander National Trial for the second year in succession courtesy of Historg (1.50) at Uttoxeter this afternoon.

Twelve months ago Streamstown stormed to victory in the £80,000 race and if anything Historg has even stronger credentials in the three-and-a-half-mile marathon.

Last time out at Cheltenham the fast-improving spring-heeled eight-year-old jumped his rivals silly with a near foot-perfect exhibition over Prestbury Park's testing fences. Historg also demonstrated an admirable turn of foot on that occasion and Ferdy is full of hope that he has the necessary armoury to follow-up.

Few trainers are able to match Richard Phillips' current 25 per cent strike-rate, a statistic that might even edge onwards and upwards after the participation of Supreme Toss (4.05) in the P.M. Harris Novices' Hurdle.

Supreme Toss stands on the brink of a superb four-timer, having knocked in a brace of wins at Warwick plus a clear-cut three-length blitzkrieg of his rivals at Leicester on December 27.

Phillips has been careful to find relatively soft races for his rising star and he appears to have unearthed another reasonably easy option for the son of the amazingly prolific National Hunt sire, Supreme Leader.

Not too many potential champion hurdlers have turned up at Wetherby over the past decade, but that could all change with the appearance of Festival-bound Rhinestone Cowboy (3.25) in the Gerard Wealth Management Novices' Hurdle.

Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Barton, who let us down so badly when tipped to win the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock a fortnight ago, tries to redress the balance in the earlier Tote Exacta Handicap Chase.

Sir Stanley Clarke's chestnut is bound to have blown plenty of cobwebs away on his reappearance, it is entirely possible we will see a much more slick performance from Barton in the £20,000 two-and-a-half-mile event.

Nicky Richards is going to Sandown with Telemoss (2.30) in the Grade 1 £55,000 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase to give him some experience before a possible crack at the Cathcart at Cheltenham.

All four National Hunt meetings must pass early-morning inspections before they can proceed. There is a strong possibility none of them will survive, in which case all afternoon eyes will turn to Lingfield and Southwell.

Finding winners at Lingfield is a nigh on impossible task. At Southwell, however, both Sea The World (1.25) and Beady (3.00) are confident selections.

Derek Shaw's stable has finally hit form and Sea The World is surely ready to strike.

Beady also went through a dark spell but has also seen the light thanks to new trainer Bryan Smart.

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