Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, and pick out their 1-2-3...
"Has some solid novice form and shaped as though in need of stiffer test last time..."
Timeform on Talkischeap
1. Beware The Bear (Nicky Henderson/Jeremiah McGrath)
Better than ever for fitting of blinkers last twice, winning Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham (by one and a quarter lengths from Vintage Clouds, holding game rival after leading last and idling run-in) last time. Non-runner in Scottish Grand National due to drying ground, so forecast rain welcome.
2. Yala Enki (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch)
Won at Bangor in November and good effort when five and a quarter lengths third to Elegant Escape in Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December. Well-beaten seventh to Al Boum Photo in Cheltenham Gold Cup last time, and this thorough stayer should appreciate the return to this longer trip.
3. Rock The Kasbah (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson)
Smart handicap chaser who won Grade 3 event at Cheltenham (by one and a quarter lengths from Royal Vacation) in November. Hampered and fell eighteenth in Grand National won by Tiger Roll at Aintree last time. Finished 13 lengths second to Step Back from 3 lb lower in this race last year.
4. Present Man (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost)
Won Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton (for second successive year, by two and a half lengths from Sumkindofking) in November. Not at best both starts since, and shaped like a non-stayer in a minor event over this trip at Taunton last time.
5. Adrien du Pont (Paul Nicholls/Nick Scholfield)
Won handicap at Kempton (by three and a half lengths from Just A Sting) in December. Good effort when five lengths third to Walt in Grade 3 handicap at same course in February and run best excused when well held in Topham Chase at Aintree last time, not always fluent. Stamina to prove now.
6. Joe Farrell (Rebecca Curtis/Aidan Coleman)
Won Scottish Grand National (by nose from Ballyoptic) in 2017/18 from 10 lb lower mark. Shaped well when one and a half lengths second to Chic Name in handicap at Newbury in March and best not judged too harshly when pulled up in Grand National at Aintree last time. One to be interested in.
7. Step Back (Mark Bradstock/Nico de Boinville)
Won this race 12 months ago from 10 lb lower, but yet to reproduce that form in three starts this season, pulled up in Grand National at Aintree latest start. Remains with few miles on the clock, but return to this venue needs to spark him back into life.
8. Talkischeap (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)
Has some solid novice form and shaped as though in need of stiffer test when nine and a quarter lengths fifth to Walt in Grade 3 handicap at Kempton last time. Strong traveller who will be suited by the demands of this race, and has to be high on the shortlist. Novice won this last year.
9. Rolling Dylan (Philip Hobbs/James Best)
Proved at least as good as ever when head second to Samuel Jackson at Taunton last time, though not for the first time he was outbattled in the finish. Will remain vulnerable from a win perspective.
10. Vyta du Roc (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob)
Beaten only a head in this race two years ago. Best effort since when winning weak contest by Cheltenham standards on New Year's Day 2018 and little encouragement this term, latterly over cross-country course at Cheltenham.
11. Give Me A Copper (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
Won two-runner novice at Kempton final start last season and shaped well on return from 15 months off when 12 and a quarter lengths fourth to Classic Ben in Masters Handicap Chase here in February. Well fancied but held when fell last in Ultima Handicap Chase won by Beware The Bear at Cheltenham last time. Lightly raced, so could have more to offer, and worth a try at this longer trip.
12. The Young Master (Neil Mulholland/Mr Sam Waley-Cohen)
Won this race in 2016, and returned to near best form this season, capitalising on a much-reduced mark to win first two starts at Chepstow and Cheltenham. Quickly bounced back from a lesser effort when seven and a quarter lengths third to Any Second Now in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham last time and still attractively treated on old form. Has to come into consideration.
13. West Approach (Colin Tizzard/Jonjo O'Neill Jr)
Smart hurdler who has finished runner-up in both Long Walk Hurdle and Cleeve Hurdle this season. Below form in last two starts in that sphere, but on a fair mark back over fences. Not ruled out.
14. Flying Angel (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies)
Best effort this season when three lengths second to Mr Medic in handicap at Ascot in November and shaped as if still in form when 17 and a quarter lengths sixth to Cadmium in Topham Chase at Aintree last time. Worth a try at this longer trip.
15. Ballydine (Charlie Longsdon/James Bowen)
Good effort when four and a quarter lengths third to Wakanda in Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January, and travelled better than most when pulled up last time in Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter, let down by mistakes. Should stay long distances and isn't badly treated.
16. Prime Venture (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge)
Possibly failed to stay but shaped as if still in good form when 18 lengths fourth to Potters Corner in Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last time (lost right fore shoe) and drop back in trip will suit.
17. Just A Sting (Harry Fry/Sean Bowen)
Won first two starts over fences and finished three and a half lengths second to Adrien du Pont at Kempton in December. Possibly failed to stay when 22 and a quarter lengths tenth to Any Second Now in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham last time, though.
18. Captain Chaos (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton)
Shaped as if still in good form when 15 and a quarter lengths sixth to Any Second Now in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham last time, despite doing too much too soon. Looks well treated, yard continue in good form, and should stay this far. Respected.
19. Rathlin Rose (David Pipe/David Noonan)
Won veterans chase at Ascot in March for second year running but stamina doubts judged on effort in this race last year and more recent failure to stay in Scottish Grand National two weeks ago.
20. Le Reve (Lucy Wadham/Maxime Tissier)
Goes well round here, finishing third in this race in 2015, but pulled up in next two renewals. Took advantage of much-reduced mark at Lingfield and Sandown this season and probably unsuited by ground at Kelso last time. Still not badly treated although few pounds out of handicap and dangerous to ignore if forecast rain arrives.
Get On The Yager (Dan Skelton/*RESERVE*)
Below form over shorter first two starts this season but produced best effort when 15 lengths third to Potters Corner in Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last time.
Doing Fine (Neil Mulholland/*RESERVE*)
Favourite when close fifth in this race two years ago. Creditable efforts last term, including when fourth in Scottish Grand National, but not in same form this season, including in latest edition of same race.
Timeform’s bet365 Gold Cup Analyst Verdict
TALKISCHEAP has only won once over fences but he has some solid form in novice events to his name and shaped as though ready for a sterner test of stamina on handicap debut at Kempton last time. He left the impression he is on a good mark that day and the step up in trip now is expected to unlock further improvement. At a bigger price, Captain Chaos should give a good account, while 2016 winner The Young Master is also considered.
Timeform’s bet365 Gold Cup 1-2-3
2. Captain Chaos
3. The Young Master