North Yorkshire trainer Malcolm Jefferson is in no rush to decide whether to let Cape Tribulation carry top weight in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
The nine-year-old now heads a 23-strong field for Saturday’s hugely prestigious staying handicap following the anticipated defection of Tidal Bay, who finished fifth in the Betfair Chase at Haydock at the weekend.
Jefferson had considered entering Cape Tribulation, who was pulled up on his seasonal debut in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, in the Long Distance Hurdle on the same card, but that idea has been scrapped.
The Malton handler said: “The horse is in good form, but we haven’t decided what we’re doing yet. We’ll see what the weather does and everything else. We thought about the hurdle race, but we’ve sort of changed our minds. If he runs he’ll have top weight, but he carried top weight over hurdles at Aintree last year.”
Cloudy Too is set to take his chance at Newbury, despite being given an entry in Newcastle’s At The Races Rehearsal Chase on the same day.
Opening Batsman, last season’s Racing Plus Chase winner, was pulled up on his seasonal return in Ascot’s United House Gold Cup, but trainer Harry Fry hopes his charge will return to form in first-time cheekpieces. Fry said: “He has schooled in cheekpieces at home, and we’ll put them on at the weekend. Let’s hope he can bounce back.”
Ante-post favourite Invictus has been all the rage following his three-length defeat of Bobs Worth at Ascot in February 2012, although he has not run since then. Other leading fancies to have stood their ground include Rocky Creek, Katenko, Our Father and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Imperial Commander. Twiston-Davies could also be represented by Same Difference, while Katenko’s trainer, Venetia Williams, may saddle Houblon Des Obeaux.
Irish interests are spiked by the likely participation of last season’s RSA Chase winner Lord Windermere, who represents the Jim Culloty team.
Culloty said: “I think he’s got a great chance, I really fancy him.”