BENATAR already features in the ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival and while March is still a long way off, he can take another step up the ladder at Plumpton.

Gary Moore pitches his charge into the Jill's 80th Birthday Novices' Chase after what was an impressive effort to win first time out over fences at Ascot at the beginning of the month.

The five-year-old had shown a chunk of ability in four hurdles outings last term, winning at Fontwell in January before claiming a fine fourth behind Finian's Oscar at Grade One level at Aintree.

The value of that eight-and-a-quarter-length defeat is there for all to see and he duly had to shoulder 12st on what was both his fencing and handicap debut.

Benatar made light work of that burden though, stamping his mark on the race with a couple of fences to jump before eventually cruising home with nearly four lengths to spare. A 5lb winner's penalty not expected to check his progress.

Master Burbidge came unstuck on his return to action just over a week ago, but he should be given another chance in the Watch Race Replays On Handicap Chase.

The six-year-old racked up three wins on the bounce at the end of last season, winning twice over hurdles before scoring when switched to fences at Sedgefield in April.

He looked as though he would take a hand in the finish at Wincanton on his reappearance, travelling on the bridle and just moving into contention when crashing out just as the race was really beginning in earnest.

Hopefully that mishap has not left its mark, and Master Burbidge could still be one on the upgrade.

Cultivator can spearhead a good day for Nicky Henderson by winning the John O'Gaunt Beginners' Chase at Leicester.

The six-year-old finished eighth in the same Aintree race as Benatar having previously shown up well in graded company earlier in the season.

Henderson decided to take Cultivator to Cheltenham for his first cut over fences but he did not appear at all comfortable at that track and it should perhaps be noted his has only won at right-handed venues so far.

Cultivator was eventually pulled up, so it may be best to just put a line through that effort and give him another whirl back over a clockwise test.

Henderson also fields Melangerie in the Burton Overy Novices' Hurdle and she will be on a retrieval mission after letting down favourite-backers last time out.

A dual bumper winner during the last campaign, Melangerie made a telling mistake at the second-last obstacle and just could not regain her momentum to muster a real finish.

She should be wiser for the experience and her supporters should not lose faith just yet.

Sir Mark Prescott probably intends to make hay through the winter months with Boost and she should be followed as she makes her return in the Handicap at Wolverhampton.

The three-year-old has been campaigned solely on the all-weather, winning in January and February of this year before finding Gilgamesh too smart in March.

Boost was beaten a length and a quarter in fourth that day, but given the first three have all won again at least once subsequently, it is pretty decent all-weather form.

A nice summer break should see Boost returned refreshed for a winter agenda.

Reverberation has yet to strike gold in five starts but his moment can come in the 32Red Casino Nursery Handicap.

He rallied well on very testing ground at Epsom last month to claim third in what was a moderate event, and he might not have to be too much better to win here.


LEICESTER: 12.50 Red Square Revival, 1.20 Sky Of Stars, 1.50 Capitoul, 2.20 Cultivator, 2.50 Really Super, 3.20 Mr Jim, 3.50 Melangerie.

PLUMPTON: 1.10 Landin, 1.40 BENATAR (NAP), 2.10 Dalaman, 2.40 Rothman, 3.10 Master Burbidge, 3.40 Mab Dab.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.00 Mundersfield, 1.30 Progressive Jazz, 2.00 Reverberation, 2.30 Boost, 3.00 Swendab, 3.30 Danish Duke, 4.00 Awesome Allan, 4.30 Itlaaq.

DOUBLE: Benatar and Melangerie.