The Paul Nicholls trained Poquelin will have to shoulder top weight next week in the Paddy Power Gold Cup as a number of star names battle it out at the open meeting at Cheltenham. A number of star chasers will be taking their chance in the race but Poquelin will be carrying 6lbs more than anyone else in the race, as he bids to go one better than the second place he achieved in the race last year. He went from strength-to-strength last season before coming home in a good second place in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Nicholls will be hoping he can go one better in that race later on this season, but first will be looking for Poquelin to back up his second place finish in the Old Roan Chase last month with another good performance here.
The rest of the field is headed by the hugely exciting and pre-race favourite Long Run who will carry 11st 6lbs in the Paddy Power next weekend, the Nicky Henderson horse is embarking on a potential Gold Cup Campaign and much is expected of him starting at the Open Meeting. A good performance from Long Run will set him on the road to the Cheltenham Festival via a tilt at the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day so he is certainly one to watch in the Paddy Power. It would also be foolish to rule out the talented Tranquil Sea who won the race last season; he has been raised to 11st 5lbs as a result but should run another big race. The Paddy Power Gold Cup is clearly loaded this year with star names and it will prove to be a vital form stick come the end of the season when we are looking for winners at the Festival itself.