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Paul Nicholls has indicated he’ll make a late decision regarding the latter, who would be reappearing 16 days after his runaway Aintree Bowl success, but has confirmed the selection “an intended runner”.
Enrilo has Grade 1 form himself, having finished third to Thyme Hill in the Challow Hurdle two seasons ago, and did go off a well-backed 6-1 shot for the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton this Christmas.
A disappointing effort there was subsequently put down to a tooth infection and he duly got back on track by scoring on handicap debut off 138 in a decent small-field event at Newbury two months ago.
That was a strangely-run race with the lead changing hands a few times during the course of the three miles but Enrilo, who’d done his share of the donkey work, still won a shade cosily after idling on the run-in.
His two closest pursuers, both much more experienced, have upheld the form - Hold The Note finishing fourth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham and Ballymoy winning both subsequent starts.
The last-named has gone up 7lb in the ratings as a consequence, so there is a case for arguing Enrilo remains potentially well in off his 5lb higher mark, having been kept fresh for the Sandown jumps finale.
Extensive watering means underfoot conditions are unlikely to get too firm and should be right up his street given his record on officially good ground reads 11121, plus he also has a course win over hurdles to his name on a softer surface.
A strong-travelling sound jumper of fences on what we’ve seen so far - and one who’s happy to be up with the pace if necessary - there’s further encouragement to be gained from his pedigree as regards the step up in trip.
The sire Buck’s Boum (full brother to Nicholls’s record breaking stayer Big Buck’s) has a standout flag bearer in dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, while there’s stamina on the dam’s side of the pedigree too.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
BET365 GOLD CUP, SANDOWN, SATURDAY
1 pt each way ENRILO (8-1 general)
Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo.@horsetraderinfo