Tomorrow's card at Ascot has a total of just 49 declarations for the seven races; I'm guessing the racecourse will be less than happy and distinctly embarrassed by three entries for the Amlin Chase and four for the Coral Hurdle.
By contrast Haydock boasts probably the best ever renewal of the Betfair Chase with current Gold Cup holder Bobs Worth renewing rivalry with Silviniaco Conti (winner of this race last year), stablemate Long Run and The Giant Bolster.
On official ratings Bobs Worth has upwards of seven pounds in hand over his rivals. Still, Haydock's sharp track isn't certain to suit - in the Gold Cup last March Bobs Worth was outpaced four from home and then stayed on stoutly to reel in his opponents while Silviniaco Conti fell three from home when still in with a shout.
I like Cue Card and Timeform rates his chance but he's never won over further than two miles five and the Tizzard operation is just 1 win from 24 in the past fortnight while Dynaste still has it to prove at this level. The Giant Bolster finished third behind Silviniaco in last year's renewal.
You couldn't back Long Run after his run in the Charlie Hall the last day but 12/1 is a big price about a previous Gold Cup winner - that Wetherby effort was the first time Nicky Henderson's charge had finished outside the places.
Tidal Bay is an enigma but apparently as good as ever at the age of twelve while Irish challenger Roi Du Mee was a surprise winner of the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal three weeks ago - he can race from the front, a tactic suited to this track, and on ratings has an outside squeak so 20/1 may appeal to those looking for each-way value.
Paul Nicholls has sent out three winners today - Fago [9/4] and Black Thunder [11/4] at Haydock and Irving [8/11] at Ascot; Silviniaco Conti gets the vote in a fascinating renewal.