Poquelin heads Gold Cup entries


Racing:Poquelin heads 22 entries for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday at the six-day confirmation stage.

The nine-year-old top-weight is one of three entries for Paul Nicholls who could also be represented by Al Ferof and last year's fourth Aerial.

Ante-post favourite Grands Crus is the sole representative for David Pipe though Nicky Henderson could have a quartet of runners from Seven Barrows with Quantitativeeasing, Tanks For That, Nadiya de La Vega and Triolo d'Alene all possibles.

Last year's most-improved horse in training, Hunt Ball, is among the hopefuls as are Calgary Bay, Forpadydeplasterer, Michael Flips, Divers and Walkon.

Philip Hobbs is double-handed with Wishfull Thinking and The Disengager while Jonjo O'Neill could also run two with Finger Onthe Pulse and Gilbarry entered.

Kingsmere, Casey Top, Questions Answered and Jamsie Hall complete the 22 entries. The final field, announced on Thursday, has a maximum limit of 20.

Hunt Ball came through his last serious piece of work on Monday morning with flying colours and his connections could not be happier.

"He did his last serious work today ahead of the Paddy Power and he was very good, as good as gold, and I was very pleased," said Burke. "He did a piece of work at Richard Barber's and worked very, very well. I rode him and we did 15 furlongs - three times up his gallops with a four-year-old unraced horse.

"I couldn't be happier and he is exactly where we want him before the Paddy Power. He is fresh and well and looking really, really well as well. He will now do light canters the rest of the week and we'll freshen him up for Saturday."

Champion Hurdle possible Darlan and veteran Snap Tie head the weights for Sunday's Racing Post Hurdle after 26 runners stood their ground.

An impressive winner over Captain Conan at Aintree in April when last seen on the racecourse, Supreme Novices' Hurdle runner-up Darlan has been left at the top of the handicap by the defection of Raya Star from the contest.

His trainer, Nicky Henderson, could also be represented by Cash And Go, while Paul Nicholls has left in Saturday's Wincanton runner-up Prospect Wells, Ted Spread and Dark Lover.

Snap Tie will need to defy an absence of more than six months if he is to score, but showed when returning from two and a half years off for his latest Punchestown success that coming back off a break need not prove an obstacle.

A strong-looking Irish contingent includes the Charles Byrnes-trained Domination and Cause Of Causes from Gordon Elliott's yard.

Charles Byrnes said of Domination: "The plan is for him to run. We gave him a break after Newmarket and he seems in good form. He's probably got it all to do in a race like this, but we'll go there hoping for the best. We'd like a bit of decent ground for him."

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