View from connections ahead of Saturday's StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury.
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Paul Nicholls believes Rebel Rebellion and Ulck Du Lin have questions to answer as they aim to extend the trainer's tremendous record in the StanJames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.
The Ditcheat handler has saddled six of the last eight winners of the Grade Three handicap chase and had hoped to see last year's winner Pacha Du Polder defend his crown.
But with testing conditions assured in Berkshire, Nicholls has had to change his running plans.
Rebel Rebellion gave Ryan Mahon a real thrill when winning the Grand Sefton over Aintree's National fences earlier this season and the young jockey keeps the ride.
Ulck Du Lin, the mount of Noel Fehily, has dropped below his last winning mark having failed to get competitive in four starts so far this season.
"I really wanted to run Pacha Du Polder again. We've been aiming him for the race, but unfortunately the ground has gone heavy and that wouldn't have suited him," said Nicholls.
"Rebel Rebellion went up a few pounds for winning the Grand Sefton. He ran well enough over two miles last time, but two and a half miles will suit him better. Hopefully he'll run well, but he is probably handicapped to the hilt.
"Ulck Du Lin, on the other hand, is handicapped to win, but he has been a bit out of form this season, so he'll need to bounce back."
Venetia Williams is enjoying a fine winter and also has two representatives in Shangani and Elenika.
"Both horses are in good form and we are hoping for good runs from both of them," said the Herefordshire-based trainer.
The Tom George-trained Majala looked a really smart recruit when winning three novice chases last season, but has been a little disappointing in four starts this term.
The Slad handler is hopeful, however, of a better showing from his charge in this weekend's contest.
George said: "He looked really good as a novice last season when he was blazing off in front, but you can't do that forever and he has been falling apart at the end of his races this season.
"We decided to change tactics with him and dropped him in at Warwick last time and he actually settled really nicely. That was a confidence booster for him more than anything and hopefully it will have done him plenty of good.
"He's bred to appreciate this sort of trip and I think Newbury is the ideal course for him, so hopefully he'll run well."
The Peter Winks-trained 12-year-old Dashing George arrives in good form following a runaway victory at Fakenham a fortnight ago.
With Nicky Henderson's Nadiya De La Vega a non-runner, the seven-runner field is completed by Tara Rose, representing the father-son combination of Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies.