Denman tops Hennessy hopes
Denman has been left at the head of the weights and is one of 34 remaining entries for the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday week.
After Paul Nicholls decided to take Kauto Star out of the race, the Paul Barber-owned 10-year-old will have to carry 11st 12lb if he is to create history by becoming the first horse to win the handicap for a third time.
Having hauled around top weight 12 months ago, this time he has to do it off an 8lb higher mark. Stablemates Neptune Collonges, Taranis and What A Friend, due to run at Haydock this week, are among only a handful of others who will be running off their correct marks.
China Rock, who ran so well against Kauto Star at Down Royal, former winner Madison Du Berlais, Silver By Nature and Barbers Shop are the others. Nicholls also has The Tother One, Take The Breeze and Niche Market to choose from.
The likes of Weird Al, Diamond Harry, Burton Port, Big Fella Thanks and Pandorama are all due to run from just out of the handicap.
Willie Mullins will not be represented as he has taken out Arbor Supreme, Quiscover Fontaine and The Midnight Club.
Glencove Marina is engaged, but trainer Eoin Griffin is instead eyeing the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown.
"We'll be giving the Hennessy a skip and he'll be going for the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on December 5," said the County Kilkenny trainer.
"All's been well with him since he won at Thurles. He's in good order. We'll keep him to that kind of trip - two and a half miles - for the time being. The Durkan looks a better option for him at this stage."
Newbury clerk of the course Richard Osgood reports the ground at the Berkshire track to be currently good to soft.