There is a new favourite with sponsor Paddy Power for the extended two and a half mile handicap chase with the Edward OGrady-trained Tranquil Sea now heading the market at 6/1. The seven-year-old, a Grade Three winner at Naas on October 31, will be bidding to become the first Irish-trained victor since Bright Highway in 1980. There is one other declaration from Ireland , the Tony Martin-trained Northern Alliance , a 10/1 chance with Paddy Power.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the few major prizes to have eluded champion trainer Paul Nicholls but the Ditcheat handler is set to launch a three-pronged attack on Saturdays contest with Chapoturgeon, the 7/1 second favourite, Poquelin (8/1) and Tatenen (8/1). All three of the Nicholls contenders boast winning form at Cheltenham.
Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful current trainer in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, thanks to the victories of Tipping Tim (1992) and Imperial Commander (2008). He has two runners this year in Ballyfitz (10/1), who has come in for recent support, and Knowhere (33/1), who finished third behind LAntartique two years ago.
Heading the weights on 11st 12lb is Our Vic (33/1), winner of the 2005 Paddy Power Gold Cup and one of two runners from the David Pipe stable along with Im So Lucky (20/1.
No other current jockey can match the record of 14-times champion Tony McCoy, who has four previous Paddy Power Gold Cup successes to his name. This year McCoy partners the Nicky Henderson-trained mare My Petra (10/1), a Grade Two winner at Ascot last season and runner-up in the 2008 Grade Three Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase at The Festival.
Alan Kings runners are always to be respected at Cheltenham and this year he runs 9/1 chance Tarotino, winner of his last three starts although not seen out since scoring at Bangor in May.
Local Slad handler runs Tartak (16/1) while the Malcolm Jefferson-trained According To Pete (16/1) is sure to appreciate the forecast rain. Ferdy Murphy, successful with LAntartique two years ago, runs Three Mirrors (40/1) while Il Duce (40/1), runner-up in 2007 and fourth last year when trained by Alan King, is set to make his first appearance for new trainer Renee Robeson.
Philip Hobbs runs From Dawn To Dusk (20/1), twice successful over hurdles at Cheltenham, while the field is completed by Bible Lord (20/1), a winner on his reappearance at Wetherby last month, Pop (33/1), Leslingtaylor (33/1) and Hold Em (33/1).
Latest prices from Paddy Power 6-1 Tranquil Sea, 7 Chapoturgeon, 8 Poquelin, Tatenen, 9 Tarotino, 10 Ballyfitz, My Petra, Northern Alliance, 16 According To Pete, Tartak, 20 Bible Lord, From Dawn To Dusk, Im So Lucky, Watch My Back, 33 Hold Em, Knowhere, Leslingtaylor, Our Vic, Pop, 40 Il Duce, Three Mirrors, 66 Island Life