Bramble on path to Festival

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Paul Nicholls, trainer of Saturday's impressive Agfa Diamond Chase winner, Deep Bramble, confirmed yesterday that his charge will take in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the way to an assault on the Grand National.

Nicholls, who was absent from Sandown, said yesterday: "I can get him better. Deep Bramble is a tough, improving horse who answered all the questions asked of him. We put him over three miles to sharpen both him and his jumping and he did it in style."

He reported that Deep Bramble had returned home in good order and had "grubbed up well" after his five-length victory over Superior Finish.

"He ran well in the Gold Cup last year on ground firmer than he likes, and if he comes out of that well, it will be on to Aintree.

William Hill cut Deep Bramble's Gold Cup odds from 50-1 to 16-1, with his Grand National odds also tightening to 14-1 from 20-1.