Master Tommytucker and Simply The Betts top the weights on 11st 12lb for the £105,000 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, details of which are revealed today.
The prestigious handicap chase takes place over an extended two and a half miles on the New Course at Cheltenham on the second day of The International, Saturday, 12 December.
Master Tommytucker, one of six contenders for Paul Nicholls, the most successful trainer in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup with five wins, was imperious on his latest start when trouncing Good Boy Bobby (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 11st 1lb) by 15 lengths in a graduation chase at Haydock Park on 21 November.
Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Coole Cody (Evan Williams) has been allotted 10st 12lb in his quest to become just the fourth horse in 57 years to win The November Meeting centrepiece and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in the same season. The three horses to complete the double were Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006).
The Paddy Power Gold Cup form is well represented, with five of the six other finishers engaged - Al Dancer (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 11st 9lb), Kauto Riko (Tom Gretton, 10st 11lb), Sky Pirate (Jonjo O’Neill, 10st 3lb), Simply The Betts (Harry Whittington) and Aso (Venetia Williams, 11st 10lb).
The 2019 Paddy Power Gold Cup heroine Happy Diva (Kerry Lee) has been allotted 11st 4lb. She could attempt to become the sixth horse to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Caspian Caviar Gold Cup but in different seasons after Dublin Flyer (PP 1995, CCGC 1994), Another Coral (PP 1991, CCGC 1992), Beau Ranger (PP 1987, CCGC1984) and Fifty Dollars More (PP 1982, CCGC 1983).
Northern challenger Windsor Avenue (Brian Ellison, 11st 3lb) is set to make his handicap debut after an encouraging second behind form horse Imperial Aura in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle on 2 November.
The unexposed Windsor Avenue, who underwent wind surgery during the summer, has racked up six wins and four seconds from a dozen starts under Rules.
Trainer Brian Ellison said of the eight-year-old: “At the moment, Windsor Avenue definitely runs in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
“He won his first two chases nicely last season and then he had a problem with his wind.
“We eventually sorted that over the summer - he had a soft palate hobday - and we were very pleased with what saw at Carlisle for a first run back.
“Overall, I thought the Colin Parker looked a good race and the form seems to be working out that way given what the winner did at Ascot (won in G2 company on 21 November).
“That run definitely brought our lad on a bit and it will be interesting to see how gets on in a handicap. Touch wood, his jumping is great and he won’t be ridden too far away anyway.
“I will be going there expecting a big run, as I think a lot of him and always have done.”
Two horses who were in winning action at Newbury last week, Clondaw Castle (Tom George, 11st 10lb) and Caribean Boy (Nicky Henderson, 11st 9lb), are towards the head of the weights.
Other high profile contenders include Caribean Boy’s stablemate Mister Fisher (11st 10lb), who pulled up when fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, plus recent Ascot handicap scorers First Flow (Kim Bailey, 11st 9lb) and Espoir de Guye (Venetia Williams, 11st 5lb).
Chatham Street Lad (Michael Winters), the sole Irish-trained contender, has been given 10st 10lb after winning a handicap chase at Cork on 22 November.
The next acceptance stage for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is on Monday, 7 December when the entries for the other contests on day two of The International, headed by the £112,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle, will also be known.
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