Philip Hobbs feels Captain Chris will prove well able to adapt to the testing ground when he goes for glory in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
The nine-year-old handled conditions well enough to win the Amlin 1965 Chase at the Berkshire course in November, and then ran a tremendous race in the King George VI Chase at Kempton when he was only beaten a neck by Long Run.
"Ideally he wants better ground, but he won the Amlin on heavy. He seems in great form and he was always going to have a few weeks off after the King George," said the trainer.
"You can always supplement for the Ryanair, but the Gold Cup has always been the plan and we want to keep our horses apart. He ran a fantastic race at Kempton and is in very good form. He always had a tendency to jump right, so it shouldn't matter too much at Ascot."
Finian's Rainbow has something to prove after finishing a well-beaten last of four behind Captain Chris on his seasonal reappearance. Last year's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero has had a wind operation since then and needs a run.
"We've always said we don't want to run him on soft ground, but we haven't got a choice and there's nowhere else to go," said trainer Nicky Henderson.
"I'd have loved to have had another week, but I want to give him a run and we will be able to decide about Cheltenham after Saturday."
Colin Tizzard expects Cue Card's performance will tell him which race to go for at Cheltenham, the Ryanair Chase or the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The seven-year-old has to put behind him a disappointing display in the King George, when he failed to last out the three miles.
The trainer said: "This is a race we planned from Christmas to take in before Cheltenham. He didn't get three miles on heavy ground on Boxing Day. Whether he'll get three miles another day there, I don't know.
"Our view is if he's going to run in the Ryanair he needs to nearly win this. If he doesn't stay he can go back and take on Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase. We will keep the options open to the end, but Ascot should show us which way we are going to go at Cheltenham."
1 February 2015Musselburgh goes ahead
Lliege keeps second in Welsh drama
Stark gives King Cheltenham options
Reve team dare to dream
Berlais joins Mullins Festival team
Lake victorious in Heroes
Morning runs rivals ragged
Contender Victoire lands knockout
Smooth success for hot Chocolat
Heavyweights wary of Shark attack
31 January 2015Ned edges Towton thriller
Silsol plan comes to fruition
Berlais best in Scilly Isles
Musselburgh takes precautions
Grand news at Wetherby
Turner hit with ten-day ban
Witness back to master Sandown
Chocolat looks sweet at Sandown
Pree primed for big Towton run
Mai heads Sandown Contenders
Walters Kean for National win
Polamco aiming to be Sandown Hero
Johnson seeks Champagne celebration
Uxizandre team eye date with Grugy
30 January 2015Hopes rise for Wetherby
Newbury to stage veterans' hurdle
Dude set for two National prep runs
Leopardstown date for D'Antan
No hurry for Flemenstar return
Aigles skips Dubai trip
Wetherby announce inspection plan
Melodic in Exeter frame
Chepstow gets go-ahead
Classy display from Vercingetorix
Ffos Las blow for Carruthers
McCoy in line for Coneygree mount
Blossoming Serge in Supreme hat
Peace declared for Triumph
Hercules features in Bartlett
Games given Neptune entry
29 January 2015Good news for Burke after X-rays
Bayan handed French mission
Exciting Eagle ready for action
Ellison on Red alert
Brother sets sail for Festival date
Ferof takes Ascot acid test
Cogry has dual Festival options
Hourigan duo to duck National Trial
Salsify back in Foxhunter frame
Wintry Catterick calls inspection
Chepstow on weather watch
Musselburgh bids to beat weather
Legend in line for Kempton repeat
Henderson at Peace for Triumph
Henderson primes Betfair squad
Henderson happy with Sprinter
Unioniste set for Newbury outing
Bolger left in awe of super Sceaux
Sam set for Gold run
Denman date for Obeaux