Hennessy Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth's participation in Saturday's big race will not be confirmed until trainer Nicky Henderson has walked the course at Newbury and spoken with connections.
The trainer was inspecting the Berkshire track on Tuesday afternoon as he is worried about potentially heavy ground and wanted time to mull over his thoughts. A dual Cheltenham Festival winner, Bobs Worth has not been seen since beating First Lieutenant in the RSA Chase last March.
He said: "We're nervous about it (the ground) and I can't just make a decision. I'd have to say there's an element of doubt and I'll walk the course in the afternoon and then talk to the owners. The gallops here are as soft as I've ever seen, but he has been very happy up the grass and worked today.
"Newbury was the obvious place to go, so we'll have to see. After that, there's only the intermediate chase at Sandown next week, but I don't want to run him right-handed. He won't go for the King George, but I will make an entry for the Lexus over Christmas, as they do sometimes get decent ground at Leopardstown."
Henderson's other Hennessy entry, the Irish recruit and recent Ascot winner Roberto Goldback, will not be running.
"The handicapper decided to put him up 13lb for Ascot, when all that happened was that it was his first run on decent ground," he said. "I'm inclined to run him in the two-and-a-half-mile race at Newbury on the Friday (Sportingbet Open Handicap Chase)."
Jamie Moore expects Fruity O'Rooney to be up for a good run on Saturday but believes he faces a tough task. Moore rides the nine-year-old for his father Gary and the jockey feels Fruity O'Rooney has come on for his recent reappearance over hurdles at Cheltenham.
"He had a spin round over hurdles and ran well for a long way. The handicapper was a bit harsh. He hadn't won off a mark that high over hurdles," he told At The Races.
"He whacked him up to his chase mark over hurdles and humped 11st 12lb for his first run of the season. It found him out and he's only small.
"He's in great form at the minute and his work's been good. He'll be spot on for Newbury and 10st 5lb is a great weight to have in a competitive handicap run on testing ground. Whether he's quite good enough, he might not be but he'll give a good, bold show from the front. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He'll go on soft ground and the three-miles-two doesn't worry me."
30 October 2014Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
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Overnight stay for Johnson
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Toast could make Spencer think
Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Road charts route to Royal riches
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Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
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Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
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Conti all set for Charlie Hall
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29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
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Annacotty set for Kempton return
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28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
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Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US
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27 October 2014Mountainous back on National trail
Ground to dictate Gold run
Elite aim for Rendezvous
Classic dreams at Leopardstown
Smullen celebrates seventh title
Cheltenham target for Module
Pete shows his Aintree mettle
Royal-Oak double for Boistron
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Balding excited by Park prospects
Sights set high for Crafty