Kiltealy Briggs could deliver a rich reward to the sponsors of the Ultima Handicap Chase on Tuesday, as he bids to make a winning return to the Cheltenham Festival.
Owned by McNeill family, the Jamie Snowden-trained runner is priced at 20/1 for the handicap on the opening day of the Festival, having landed the Frodon Novices' Chase on his last start in February.
The eight-year-old will now get a chance to take on Frodon himself in the Ultima, with the Paul Nicholls-trained star headlining the 41 entries for the 3m1f contest.
"Kiltealy Briggs is in cracking form, great order," Snowden said. "He's moving well, working well and jumping well. Frodon keeping the Ultima weights down means he's at the right end of them and it's been the plan for a while, but he's got to step forward.”
The eight-year-old was pulled-up in his first festival start in the 2020 Albert Bartlett before finishing ninth in last season's Plate under Adrian Heskin, who has partnered Kiltealy Briggs for all bar one of his 15 starts under rules.
The pair chased home Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but will swerve another clash with the star novices in favour of the Tuesday handicap.
Snowden added: "He's exciting. He ran in a bog at Sandown last season and it kind of pulled him apart, but he's bigger and stronger now.
"He had two colic operations after running in the Albert Bartlett in 2020, so didn't really have a summer then and we ran him only four times last season, but he's really come to himself as a second-season novice this term."
Success would provide the McNeill family with a welcome first winner at the meeting, having sponsored the race since 2015.