Jamie Snowden’s Present View, a Festival winner in March, and Nicky Henderson’s former top-class hurdler Oscar Whisky, head the betting at 7-1 for the first major handicap of the new National Hunt season.
Present View made his seasonal reappearance over hurdles last month and looked all over the winner before making a mistake at the final flight and just being caught on the run-in.
He picked up an injury in that incident, but Snowden has been happy with his recovery and believes there is more improvement to come.
The trainer said: “He struck into his front leg during that race and got a skin cut, but he’s absolutely fine now and the vet is very happy with him. He came out of the race fine and he’s done three bits of work and schooled well and he’s ready to do battle.
“I’m hoping that he can progress further and if he does, the world is his oyster.
“He could be the right side of the handicapper – he received a vast hike in the ratings over hurdles after his last run and if he could progress just a quarter of that over fences, then he would have big chance.
“I’ve given him a speculative entry in the King George and if he won the Paddy Power and looked as impressive as we think he is, we would have to have a look at that race as otherwise it would be top-weights in handicaps.”
Indian Castle is set to make his debut for Ian Williams after joining the Alvechurch handler from Donald McCain.
The six-year-old beat Grade One scorer Annacotty at Cheltenham in January and was seventh in the Fulke Walwyn at the Festival, despite blundering badly at the final fence.
Williams said: “Indian Castle is an intended runner in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. He has settled in well and has been a pleasure to work with.
“He has some previous form around Cheltenham and it is a tough ask on his first race of the season, but he is in good shape and we are very happy with him.”
Paddy Power said: “Jamie Snowden’s enthusiasm for Present View is infectious and I’m pretty sure that punters will jump on the bandwagon and send him off clear favourite on the day.”
The weights will rise following the defection of original top weight Menorah.
Double Ross, Wonderful Charm and Taquin Du Seuil have also been taken out, leaving the Henderson-trained Rajdhani Express, fifth last year off 3lb lower, and Alan King’s Uxizandre at the head of affairs.
Oscar Whisky and last year’s winner Johns Spirit are below them, with 2013 runner-up Colour Squadron another in the mix.
Buywise, Attaglance, Caid Du Berlais and Champion Court are other notable entries.
Easter Meteor could have his first run for David Pipe, while the only Irish possibles among the remaining 24 are the Charles Byrnes-trained Shanpallas and Tom Gibney’s Orpheus Valley.
Paddy Power Gold Cup – sponsors bet: 7-1 Oscar Whisky, Present View, 9-1 Buywise, Johns Spirit, 10-1 Uxizandre, 12-1 Colour Squadron, Shanpallas, Easter Meteor, Ericht, 14-1 Rajdhani Express, Attaglance, Indian Castle, 16-1 Persian Snow, 20-1 Caid Du Berlais, Cantlow, Edgardo Sol, Kapga De Cerisy, 25-1 Champion Court, Astracad, Cedre Bleu, Eastlake, 33-1 King Massini, Shangani, 50-1 Orpheus Valley.