Nicholson left four of his team among the 21 five-day acceptors for the Champion: Castle Sweep, Relkeel, Sanmartino and Zabadi. However, his assistant, Alan King, said: "Castle Sweep will run in the Coral Cup, Richard Dunwoody will be on Relkeel. A decision on Sanmartino will be made on Sunday but he will probably go for the Citroen Supreme. Zabadi runs in the Champion but I don't know who rides."
Nicholson scotched doubts about Relkeel's well-being, reporting that the gelding, who returned from a long spell of injury to test Collier Bay at Towcester last month, was "200 per cent". He expects his challenger to turn the tables on the champion, whose Cheltenham odds were eased to 100-30, from 3-1, by Ladbrokes after support for Large Action (9-2 from 5-1) and Space Trucker (5-1 from 11-2). Collier Bay's stable-companion, the novice Juyush, is injured and misses the meeting.
Martin Pipe's description of parts of the Cheltenham track as "puddingy" has been contested by the course's Edward Gillespie. "We are not worried about the going. I think we will leave Martin Pipe to train his horses and he can leave us to issue the going reports," he said.Reuse content