Fry hopeful of picking Lough in the feature
Harry Fry is a hoping a long-term plan comes to fruition when Kylemore Lough makes his first appearance for the Dorset trainer in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham this afternoon.
Fry has had this valuable prize in mind ever since he was sent the Grade One-winning eight-year-old from Kerry Lee's stable in late spring.
"We've been grafting away at home and we are happy with his progress and what he has shown us," said Fry.
"He was top weight when fifth in the Caspian Caviar off 2lb higher than what he goes into Saturday's race. He has got a good record fresh as well, hence why we targeted the BetVictor when we mapped out his campaign.
"The nice thing is that he turned up at the end of May. We were able to assess him, give him a break and start afresh with him. It is not as though he turned up a couple of weeks ago.
"This was always going to be his starting point."
Paul Nicholls has two good chances in Le Prezien and Romain De Senam.
"It was not always the aim for Romain De Senam until he won at Chepstow," admitted the Ditcheat trainer.
"He caught me by surprise a bit that day, but I think that race did fall apart and they went quite quick. He ran again six days later, but I had to run him as he was going to go up 12lb. He won and won two good races in a week.
"I thought Le Prezien was going to get there most of the way (at Cheltenham last month), but he didn't. He ran very well, he was only beaten a neck and obviously gets further than two. That was a good run. It sharpened his jumping up and two-mile-five probably suits him better than two miles."
Owner Barry Connell believes Tully East's liking for Cheltenham will stand him in good stead.
The seven-year-old, trained in Ireland by Alan Fleming, has performed creditably in two previous visits to Prestbury Park.
"He's been there twice. He won last season and ran well in the Martin Pipe the year before," Connell said.
"He seems to like the place and it looks an open enough race this year.
"Everything's gone well. We had a prep run over hurdles and he schooled over fences at Naas last weekend. We couldn't be happier.
"It's a nice pot. He's a course and distance winner and after he won in Cheltenham, we just felt it was the obvious race for him. It's a nice way to start off."
Ian Williams enjoyed a big-race double last weekend with London Prize and Saunter, and reports Ballyalton to be in prime shape for this test.
"He is in great form. Tom (O'Brien) schooled him on Tuesday and he schooled very nicely for him," said the trainer.
"He has always performed well around Cheltenham and has enjoyed the track. We are looking forward to it, but it is a big ask."
Charlie Longsdon is seeking an informative run from Bentelimar, who is having his first race since his move from Shay Barry's stable in Ireland.
"He is a nice, uncomplicated horse at home. We are still learning about him, but I am looking forward to seeing him run," said Longsdon.
"He is ticking over nicely. He was fit when he came over and we gave him a bit of a break."