Beware The Bear, a late defector from the Scottish Grand National, heads 26 confirmations for the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson’s nine-year-old won at the Cheltenham Festival in March but Henderson, along with several other trainers on the day at Ayr, ruled the ground too fast for his charge to take part.
Henderson could also run last year’s second Vyta Du Roc, who was last seen finishing a long way behind Tiger Roll in the cross country chase at Cheltenham.
Neil Mulholland’s The Young Master is ante-post favourite, having finished third to Any Second Now in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Doing Fine is another possible for Mulholland.
Paul Nicholls, who is set to be crowned champion trainer on Saturday, holds a strong hand at this stage and can choose from Give Me A Copper, Present Man and Adrien Du Pont.
Rock The Kasbah and Rolling Dylan are there for Philip Hobbs, while Grand National also-ran Joe Farrell and last year’s race winner Step Back also stand their ground.
Yala Enki, Talkischeap, West Approach and Ballydine are other names still in the mix.