CARRUTHERS would be a popular winner of Cheltenham’s newly-named Argento Chase for trainer Mark Bradstock and owner Lord Oaksey today.

The seven-year-old tried his best to notch an all-theway victory in last year’s RSA Chase at the track but he was out on his feet after a bad blunder and finished fourth.

He put in a satisfactory effort on his return at Wincanton but after missing a planned run in the Hennessy, he blew his rivals away when allowed to really press his case at Newbury last time.

Carruthers will have to find some improvement again here but this looks an ideal opportunity to take another step up the ladder.

Tidal Bay is an intriguing runner as he bids to arrest a losing streak stretching back well over a year in the Betfair Cleeve Hurdle.

The 2008 Arkle winner has not tasted victory since November that year and although he has turned in some decent performances in the interim, he does not look to be totally in love with the game at present.

However, he was top-class over hurdles as a novice, finishing second at the Festival and winning at Aintree, so he is not without ability over the smaller obstacles.

The major question mark has to be his will to win but trainer Howard Johnson has been issuing some upbeat bulletins on his well-being lately and the switch of discipline could reignite his enthusiasm.

On an informative day of Cheltenham trials, Paul Nicholls’ new recruit Pistolet Noir can lift the Betfair Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, while Perce Rock is the choice in the Betfair Trophy Chase Handicap.

At Doncaster, Khachaturian can make the leap from novice to open company in the Listed Sky Bet Chase.

Donald McCain’s runner was only beaten a short head by leading fancy Seven Is My Number at Bangor last October and Khachaturian will be getting even more weight from that rival this time.

One win in three starts since that run is admittedly not the most encouraging statistic but he did stroll home by ten lengths at Kempton, before running into French raider Doctor Pat last time.

It was a creditable effort to be beaten just over five lengths by Francois Doumen’s charge and although this represents another massive task, Khachaturian is a horse on the upgrade.

Imprimis Tagula has made a steady ascent through the all-weather ranks this winter and he is the choice in the Super 7 Handicap (Qualifier) at Lingfield, while Banjaxed Girl can take Uttoxeter’s A&S Enterprises Ltd Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

All eyes will be on Hereford tomorrow as Somersby, on many shortlists for Cheltenham Festival honours, completes his build up for the big day.

Henrietta Knight’s charge is striving to put the gloss on his Arkle preparations in the Lindley Catering Novices’ Chase and should have little trouble collecting.

Two silky-smooth successes in two good races tells its own story about the qualities of this exciting six-year-old.

Although he is unlikely to be available at fancy prices, another no-nonsense display is anticipated in this twomile affair.

At Kempton, Fathsta can bounce back to his best in the Conditions Stakes. He was forced to race wide when seventh at Wolverhampton earlier in the month and although he was only beaten just under three lengths, he is better than that run.