Trainer Mouse Morris will wait until the middle of the week before deciding whether to let First Lieutenant take his chance in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.
Last season's RSA Chase runner-up was not disgraced on his return to action at Gowran and then pushed Kauto Stone all of the way in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal. Morris had suggested his seven-year-old was unlikely to take his chance in the Hennessy, but the County Tipperary trainer is now warming to the idea. With Tidal Bay heading the weights of the 22 confirmations, First Lieutenant is set to carry 11st 5lb if he does run.
Morris said: "We'll keep our options open until Wednesday. The top weight staying in might encourage us to go and the choice is whether to run on soft ground in England or bottomless ground in Ireland. We'll wait a couple of days and see what the lovely weather is going to do! By Wednesday night we'll know whether we're travelling or not."
His RSA Chase conqueror Bobs Worth heads ante-post lists for Saturday's feature at Newbury, with trainer Nicky Henderson set to assess conditions at Newbury on Tuesday.
The Seven Barrows handler said: "We're going to have a look at Newbury tomorrow, I'm sure they're doing everything they can. I'd like to get a run into him this weekend. Things have been geared towards that, but plans are changing left, right and centre at the moment."
Henderson also has Ascot winner Roberto Goldback engaged, while First Lieutenant is one of three possible runners for Ireland, with the Dessie Hughes-trained Magnanimity and Irish National hero Lion Na Bearnai still in contention.
Hughes said: "Hopefully he'll run, unless the ground is too deep. I hear they are expecting a dry week after today, so by Saturday it might have dried out a bit."
Philip Hobbs has Planet Of Sound and Duke Of Lucca in the mix and he said: "Neither of them would want it too soft, so we'll have to make a decision later in the week. It's the same for everyone at the moment."
As well as Tidal Bay, Paul Nicholls has also confirmed Harry The Viking, but stable companion Michel Le Bon is a notable defection. Other major players include The Package, Hold On Julio and Saint Are. Last year's Hennessy hero Carruthers is also a possible runner - as is the 2010 winner Diamond Harry.
One horse for whom conditions should not pose too many problems is Frisco Depot, who was in the process of running a big race at Ascot on his debut for Charlie Longsdon when falling three fences from home. Longsdon said: "I think we will put a stronger bit in his mouth because he was a bit keen last time. I don't think the ground will be a problem as all his runs in Ireland were on heavy ground."
2 October 2014Newitt links up with Seismos
Tapestry enters Arc picture
Toocool has American dream
Berkshire on the comeback trail
Estidhkaar 'on target' for Dewhurst
Australia leads Champions acceptors
Martin outlines Jack ground hopes
Raiding party heads Opera runners
Force and Power top Abbaye list
Telescope sights set on Breeders'
1 October 2014Dettori vies for World rule in Arc
Dettori given Ruler role
Autumn aim for North
Shamkala sole Arc withdrawal
Cadeaux team mull Caulfield date
Limato set for Redcar speed test
Cape set for Concorde test
Power primed to storm Abbaye
Creepy excels on chasing bow
Al Kazeem given Arc go-ahead
Buick makes Ivanhowe Arc link
Martin keen on Clonard
Cirrus heads Longchamp billing
Elite aim for Irving
Ribbons run hinges on Paris ground
Quick on course for Ces date
30 September 2014Power heads Abbaye market
No fitness worries for Lemaire
Beaux plans undecided
Foret-bound Byron enjoys workout
Perfect fencing start for Minstrel
Ted takes Roscommon honours
Rain fillip for Treve Arc challenge
Speed not an issue to River camp
Signal on course to Wow in Paris
Ivawood heads Millions field
Top fillies star in Chariot race
Point primed for Abbaye assignment
29 September 2014Logic ruled out for the season
Ansgar in Foret frame
Kalann team consider Champions bid
Peslier and Mosse hunt Arc mounts
O'Brien trio set for Longchamp
High hopes for Elliott team
Berry takes the rails route
River cruises to Beresford glory
Qualify swoops for O'Brien team
Minstrel ready for chasing bow
Tiggy Abbaye run not set in stone
Angel camp ponder Darley raid
Pineau ripe for new season
Mubtaghaa suited by joy of six
Fiesolana fired up for Foret