Ante-post favourite Kylemore Lough (8/1 with BetVictor) has been allotted 11st 7lb in the weights for the feature £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham on day two of The November Meeting, Saturday, November 18, details of which are revealed today.
Kylemore Lough, winner of the G1 Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in March, 2016, is set to have his first start for Harry Fry in the prestigious G3 handicap chase, having previously been trained by Kerry Lee.
The weights are headed by G1 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy runner-up Cloudy Dream (Malcolm Jefferson, 14/1) and multiple G2 scorer Top Gamble (Kerry Lee, 25/1) on 11st 12lb.
Politologue (20/1) also has 11st 12lb after picking up a 5lb penalty for yesterday's G2 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup triumph at Exeter, although he is likely to head straight to Sandown Park for the G1 Tingle Creek Chase on December 9.
Politologue's trainer Paul Nicholls has nine entries to choose from as he chases a third BetVictor Gold Cup in six years. A strong team for the Somerset handler also includes impressive Chepstow and Stratford victor Romain De Senam (10st 12lb, 12/1) and Aintree G1 scorer San Benedeto (11st 8lb, 16/1), who was second to Politologue on his comeback yesterday.
Local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has landed the BetVictor Gold Cup three times, notably with subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander in 2008, and is eyeing the spoils this year with Foxtail Hill (11st, 20/1).
Foxtail Hill was a game winner of a G3 handicap chase over two miles, five furlongs on Festival Trials Day in January and had no problem with the drop back to two miles on his comeback when repelling Le Prezien (Paul Nicholls, 11st 3lb, 16/1) by a neck in the Randox Health Handicap Chase at The Showcase on October 28.
Twiston-Davies, who is based not far from Cheltenham in Guiting Power, said: "Foxtail Hill will head to Cheltenham for the BetVictor Gold Cup, all being well.
"It was a very good performance at the last meeting and he has come out of that race 100 per cent fine.
"He surprised us a little bit with what he did over two miles as we have always thought two and a half miles is his best trip.
"I hope he has a good chance next week. It tends to suit horses who were novices the season before, but he has already won a couple of big handicaps at Cheltenham and looks high enough in the weights.
"Ballybolley (11st 3lb, 25/1) is going to Aintree on Saturday for a handicap chase. If he ran really well there, he could go to Cheltenham too but I would say that is unlikely."
The Irish challenge is headed by Tully East (Alan Fleming, 11st 1lb, 16/1) who was a smooth winner of Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase over the course and distance at The Festival in March.
Also among the seven Irish-trained entries are Ballycasey (Willie Mullins, 11st 11lb, 25/1), a G1 winner over fences, plus G2 Gowran Park Champion Chase scorer A Toi Phil (11st 11lb, 20/1) and G1 Punchestown chase third Ball D'Arc (11st 5lb, 25/1), who are both trained by Gordon Elliott.
Other notables include Go Conquer (Jonjo O'Neill, 11st 4lb, 16/1), who is up 9lb for an impressive success at Ascot last weekend, 2016 Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase victor Ballyalton (Ian Williams, 10st 10lb, 16/1) and Gold Present (Nicky Henderson, 10st 9lb, 16/1), who was runner-up to Tully East in that contest this year.
Cheltenham favourite The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 11st 12lb, 20/1 with Unibet), a six-time winner at the Home of Jump Racing, heads the weights for the £100,000 G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, staged over an extended two miles on the third and final day of The November Meeting, Sunday, November 19.
Unibet's 7/1 favourite is Defi Du Seuil (Philip Hobbs, 11st 6lb), who is unbeaten in seven starts over hurdles, four of which have come at Cheltenham. The four-year-old captured the JCB Triumph Hurdle victory at The Festival in 2017 and also landed G2 contests at The November Meeting and on Festival Trials Day in January, plus gaining success at The International in December.
Also prominent in the ante-post market with Unibet are Divin Bere (10st 11lb, 8/1) and Call Me Lord (10st 6lb, 12/1), two of six entries for champion trainer Nicky Henderson, while Elgin (Alan King, 10st 8lb, 12/1) put up a game performance to take a Listed handicap hurdle under 11st 11lb at Ascot on November 4.
There nine Irish-trained contenders including Campeador (Gordon Elliott, 12/1), an impressive scorer on his comeback at Punchestown last month.