Scottish Grand National heroine Win My Wings heads 26 confirmations for Saturday’s bet365 Gold Cup.
Winner of the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February, the Christian Williams-trained mare followed up with an emphatic victory at Ayr three weeks ago under leading Irish amateur Rob James.
With the weights having gone up a stone after the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Al Boum Photo and Kemboy were all withdrawn, Win My Wings has been allotted 11st 12lb for the traditional jumps season finale.
Williams has also left in Kitty’s Light, an unfortunate loser in last year’s bet365 Gold Cup and runner-up to Win My Wings in Scotland, as well as Cap Du Nord.
Alan King’s Potterman won the race in the stewards’ room 12 months ago and looks set to bid for back-to-back victories.
Enrilo, who was demoted to second in last year’s renewal, is also in contention once more for Paul Nicholls on the day the Ditcheat handler will be crowned champion trainer for the 13th time.
Other leading contenders include Lucinda Russell’s Cheltenham Festival scorer Corach Rambler and the Philip Hobbs-trained Deise Aba, who was pulled up in the Grand National at Aintree a fortnight ago.
Last year’s winner Greaneteen is one of nine entries for the bet365 Celebration Chase.
The Nicholls-trained gelding notched a second Grade One win at Sandown in the Tingle Creek in December, but must bounce back from a disappointing effort at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
The highest-rated horse is Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra, who is fresh after sidestepping the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on account of the rain-softened ground.
Funambule Sivola, trained by Venetia Williams, finished second in the two-mile championship at Prestbury Park behind Energumene, but subsequently failed to fire at Aintree could turn out again.
Sceau Royal (Alan King) and Envoi Allen (Henry de Bromhead) are also in the mix.
Gary Moore’s Goshen is the star name among 11 entries for the Grade Two Select Hurdle in which Langer Dan could step up in class, while the Grade Two Oaksey Chase features the Nicholls-trained pair of Hitman and Saint Calvados, Nicky Henderson’s Mister Fisher and Nuts Well from Ann Hamilton’s yard.