sport

Big guns chasing weekend Gold

Hunt Ball and Cristal Bonus have stood their ground for the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup.

There's a total of 23 still in contention for the valuable handicap at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The Keiran Burke-trained Hunt Ball was one of the most improved chasers in training last season but was pulled up on his reappearance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Former smart novice chaser Cristal Bonus, trained by Paul Nicholls, landed a Grade Two at Down Royal by nine lengths last month.

Nicholls has also left in Ghizao and Unioniste, with trainers' title rival Nicky Henderson double-handed through Quantitativeeasing and Nadiya De La Vega, who was third to Al Ferof in the Paddy Power.

Wishfull Thinking heads the weights from his Philip Hobbs-trained stablemate Menorah, who beat Cristal Bonus in a Grade One at Aintree's Grand National meeting.