Cape Tribulation: 10-1 with the sponsor for the Sky Bet Chase on SaturdayPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Optimism that Doncaster will race on Saturday
FRIDAY'S meeting is already in doubt, with an inspection planned for Wednesday, but there is some optimism that Doncaster's card on Saturday will survive and bring jumps fans some much needed cheer, even if Cheltenham is lost.
Doncaster's Saturday fixture has been boosted by the addition of the Champion Hurdle Trial, rearranged from Haydock, with Grandouet, Peddlers Cross and Countrywide Flame in the frame, while the Great Yorkshire Chase, River Don Novices' Hurdle, Racing Post Lightning Novices' Chase and a Grade 2 mares' hurdle add lustre to the track's best jumps card of the year.
The Great Yorkshire, once again to be run as the Sky Bet Chase, was the subject of a radical market shake-up on Monday, when the top two in the betting, Champion Court and Wyck Hill, came out, along with The Knoxs and Rolling Aces, who were also prominent in the market.
Gold Cup entry Katenko heads the sponsor's betting at 7-1, with fellow Cheltenham nomination Bold Sir Brian the same price with Coral.
Lucinda Russell: trains Bold Sir Brian and Silver By NaturePICTURE: Jon Winter
However, Bold Sir Brian's trainer Lucinda Russell warned punters that it was stablemate Silver By Nature who could represent her.
She said: "Bold Sir Brian has also got an entry in the two-mile-five race at Cheltenham. We'll decide which is the best race for him.
"Silver By Nature is never at his best for his first run, so we're dead keen to get this run into him, then go for the Grand National Trial at Haydock."
Bold Sir Brian is one of the sponsor's four co-second favourites at 10-1, along with Cape Tribulation, Harry The Viking and Mister Hyde, while Court By Surprise is only two points bigger but way down the list of entries at 31. The safety limit is 22.
Doncaster clerk of the course Roderick Duncan told the Racing Post on Monday: "The forecast has improved a little. We're forecast positive daytime temperatures.
"There may be a flurry or two of snow around on Wednesday and Thursday, but not a significant amount, and there's every chance that will turn to sleet or rain. Then we'd have a real opportunity."
On Tuesday, meanwhile, Lingfield passed an early inspection and will host racing, while Wednesday's fixture at Ayr must survive at day-of-racing 7.30am inspection if it is to go ahead.