McManus well represented in Power
JP McManus could have a very strong hand in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday week.
Colour Squadron is one of seven possible runners for the powerful owner and the Philips Hobbs-trained eight-year-old has been handed 10st 10lb for his bid to go one better than his runer-up finish 12 months ago.
The McManus septet also features Uxizandre (11st 2lb), trained by Alan King, and Shanpallas (10st 5lb), trained in Ireland by Charles Byrnes.
Shanpallas has been in good form over the summer and was bought by McManus after finishing third to Your Busy in the Kerry National at Listowel in September. The six-year-old went on to win the Munster National at Limerick last month.
"I expect Shanpallas will be left in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at the five-day stage but we have made no decision about his participation at the moment," said the County Limerick-based Byrnes.
"Obviously, JP has several others in the race and I still have to speak to Frank (Berry, racing manager) and the team.
"Shanpallas has been in terrific form since Limerick and I would be keen to run, although the form of that race has not worked out brilliantly.
"I would not be concerned about the drop back in trip as I think he is more of a two-and-a-half-miler than a three-miler.
"He has been to Cheltenham before but the ground was very heavy that day and he landed quite steep over the first and got behind.
"He is a different horse on good ground."
There are six other Irish-trained entries, including four from the stable of Ireland's champion jump trainer Willie Mullins.
The Closutton quartet are dual Festival winner Champagne Fever (11st 2lb), Ballycasey (10st 13lb), Felix Yonger (10st 10lb) and The Paparrazi Kid (9st 13lb).
Charlie Hill Chase winner Menorah tops the weights on 11st 12lb while l ast year's scorer Johns Spirit has been allotted 11st, 12lb more than he carried 12 months ago.
His trainer Jonjo O'Neill could also saddle Taquin Du Seuil (11st 3lb) as well as the McManus-owned pair of Eastlake (10st 4lb) and Festive Affair (9st 4lb).
Jamie Snowden's Present View (10st 2lb) and the Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky (11st) head the market with the sponsors as 7-1 joint-favourites.