In-form Nicholls readies three as he eyes fifth strike in big chase

Paul Nicholls has the market leaders Clan Des Obeaux and Le Prezien among three possibles as he plans for a second successive Saturday feature race win in Cheltenham's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, but he will be on weather watch before finalising his plans, as will connections of many of the principals.

Nicholls, who enjoyed a tenth win in the Tingle Creek Chase with Politologue at Sandown on Saturday, has won the former December Gold Cup four times since 2009, including last year with four-year-old Frodon, and he is set to be strongly represented in the race, from which ante-post favourite Waiting Patiently was ruled out on Friday.

The ground was changed from good to good to soft at Cheltenham on Sunday and Nicholls said: "I'll probably confirm with Romain De Senam, Le Prezien and Clan Des Obeaux and we'll see what the weather does. 

"Romain De Senam wants really decent ground and it turned against him in the BetVictor. Clan Des Obeaux will go on any ground, but cut obviously suits him and he loves really soft conditions. I just want to be sure he's all right as it's not that far along from Haydock. Le Prezien is also likely to be confirmed."

Clan Des Obeaux and Le Prezien are currently 8-1 joint favourites with David Pipe's Starchitecht in Ladbrokes' ante-post list. Romain De Senam is a 14-1 chance.

The stable's Cheltenham runners could also include 2015 winner Old Guard in the International Hurdle.

Nicholls said about his recent Newbury winner: "We'll have plenty of entries at Cheltenham and Doncaster and Old Guard is in such good form that I might just put him in the International and have a look."