Tony McCoy admitted it was a close-run thing choosing Colour Squadron over Cantlow as his mount in the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup at Cheltenham today.
The deciding factor for the 18-times champion jockey was the form of the Paddy Power Gold Cup at this venue last month, when Colour Squadron just failed to peg back Johns Spirit after being hampered at the second-last fence.
"He has Johns Spirit to beat. He went to the last travelling well and albeit Colour Squadron definitely got hampered when Easter Meteor fell at the second-last, you would like him to win sooner rather than later," McCoy said. "There wasn't much between him and Cantlow, to be honest. I just thought the Paddy Power form was pretty solid and I think his main danger is Johns Spirit."
Colour Squadron's trainer, Philip Hobbs, said: "He would probably want softer ground than this. Nevertheless, he's in great form."
McCoy had to pick from owner JP McManus's three runners, Colour Squadron, Cantlow and Tap Night.
"Colour Squadron ran a blinder here at the last meeting," said McManus's racing manager, Frank Berry. "Philip is very happy with him. He's in good form and we are hoping for a good run.
"Cantlow did it nicely the last day. It's a step up a bit for him in class, but we're happy with him.
"Tap Night is a nice horse as well. He's in good form."
Cantlow's trainer, Paul Webber, is just hoping his charge can run a good race following his recent win at Newbury.
"I think he seems come out of the Newbury race very well indeed and hopefully he can move forward," said Webber.
Johns Spirit was raised 9lb for his Paddy Power victory over Colour Squadron, but his rider, Richie McLernon, is still expecting a big run from Jonjo O'Neill's charge. "Touch wood, he'll go well," McLernon said.
"Obviously the weights will be a bit of a factor but he's fit."
Emma Lavelle feels Easter Meteor deserves a change of luck after he crashed out in the Paddy Power. The horse showed no ill-effects from that mishap when finishing second to Cantlow at Newbury two weeks ago.
Paul Nicholls is expecting a big run from Grandioso, who showed he had recovered from a touch of colic a few months ago with a good run when third to Cantlow and Easter Meteor at Newbury.
David Pipe admits Salut Flo faces a big task after being off the track since winning the Byrne Group Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2012.
Attaglance was a good fourth to Johns Spirit in the Paddy Power and his trainer, Malcolm Jefferson, is expecting another decent effort.