Saint Calvados BetVictor run in doubt with Shloer Chase an option

Saint Calvados, the topweight and a general 10-1 shot for Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham, is not a certain runner and could switch to the Shloer Chase on Sunday if connections consider conditions in the Cotswolds too extreme.

Trained by Harry Whittington for Kate and Andrew Brooks, Saint Calvados was declared for the BetVictor on Thursday morning, but Saturday's meeting at the course is in doubt.

Heavy rain forced Friday's fixture to be cancelled and officials at the track will inspect at 3pm on Friday to determine if Saturday's card can go ahead.

Even if it does, Saint Calvados may not be in action, Whittington has warned.

Speaking not far from Cheltenham on Thursday afternoon, he said: "I've had a call from Sean Tiernan, the owners' racing manager, to say we will declare on Friday morning for the Shloer, given the circumstances with the extreme conditions and carrying top weight in a handicap in them.

"I suppose Saturday's meeting is under threat, but if it was on and we weren't happy with the track we'd have the Shloer option, which we need.

"It's by no means a certainty he'll run on Saturday. I'd say it's 50-50, but it's raining now. How much more can they take and what are conditions going to be like? It's a lot of weight to be carrying in a handicap and the Shloer is under serious consideration as well.

"Sean called this afternoon and said the owners wanted both options open, so we'll monitor the weather and conditions."

A smart novice two seasons ago, the strapping six-year-old won at Cheltenham last month and is thought better than ever after a breathing operation and summer break that allowed him to fill his imposing frame.

"The horse is very well," Whittington added. "He came out of his last run very well and we're thrilled with him."

A maximum field of 20 horses have been declared for the BetVictor and the runners include ante-post fancies Siruh Du Lac and Slate House.