'Kylemore' on course to fly Fry flag at Cheltenham
Ante-post favourite Kylemore Lough remains in contention for the big handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Harry Fry's new recruit has not been seen since he finished fourth in the Melling Chase at Aintree in April, when trained by Kerry Lee.
Kylemore Lough will have to shoulder 11st 7lb in the valuable BetVictor Gold Cup, for which 22 horses have stood their ground.
The eight-year-old's victories for Lee included the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in 2016, and Fry is hoping to replicate that sort of success.
"The owners rang up at the end of May and asked if we would like to train the horse," said the trainer.
"We've been very happy since he got to us. He was a high-class horse with the Lees and now the pressure is on to reproduce the same sort of form he did for them."
Nicky Henderson is currently responsible for Days Of Heaven (11st 2lb), Theinval (10st 13lb) and Gold Present (10st 9lb).
He said: "Theinval was unlucky all last year. One day we will get it right. He ran very nicely at Ascot over two miles but this is his trip.
"Days Of Heaven has got himself into it, but he is too high (in the handicap). He loves very fast ground.
"Gold Present needs a few to come out, so we might go for something else. It's his trip and he ran a very good race in the novice handicap at the Festival last year."
Paul Nicholls has confirmed both Le Prezien (11st 3lb) and Romain De Senam (10st 2lb). The Lee-trained Top Gamble would have to carry top weight of 11st 12lb, while leading ante-post fancies like the Alan Fleming-trained Tully East (11st 1lb), Foxtail Lad (11st) from the Nigel Twiston-Davies' yard and David Pipe's Starchitect (10st 11lb) are still in the hat.
Go Conquer and Cloudy Dream were both prominent in the betting but did not feature at the confirmation stage.
Ivanovich Gorbatov and Tigris River could represent the highflying Joseph O'Brien in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle on Sunday, while Tom Mullins is also potentially double-handed with Grand Partner and Top Othe Ra.
Tony Martin's Golden Spear and Veinard from Gordon Elliott's stable are the other raiders in the mix.
Triumph Hurdle hero Defi Du Seuil is also among the 23 horses left. Philip Hobbs' four-year-old is unbeaten in seven starts over hurdles, with four of his wins coming at this venue.
The JP McManus-owned gelding has just Twiston-Davies' grand campaigner The New One ahead of him in the weights as he bids to continue his winning streak. Henderson has left in Jenkins and Call Me Lord as he looks to win this race for the first time.
The Nicholls-trained Old Guard, the winner in 2015, will be ridden by Bryony Frost, who enjoyed the biggest success of her career last Saturday when she claimed the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton aboard Present Man. The multiple champion trainer will also be represented by Amour De Nuit.
At Kempton yesterday, Davy Russell made a profitable trip across the Irish Sea as he steered Whisper (4/6) to victory in the Graduation Chase. Henderson's charge got the better of old rival Clan Des Obeaux by half a length after a superior jump at the last and will next head to Newbury for the Ladbroke Trophy.