Newbury’s Denman Chase is probably the last recognised Gold Cup trial before the big event itself. This year’s renewal is a small affair but also very interesting one.

Five runners have been declared at the five day stage:

Native River – 166 (adjusted rating) – 5/6 best price

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Has the best form on offer thanks to his third behind Sizing John in the 2017 Gold Cup. He also won this race last season in emphatic fashion and has won three of his four course starts. Would win this if back to his best and fit but the latter cannot be taken on trust. I’m sure Colin Tizzard will not want him to have a hard race before Cheltenham and hence I cannot advise backing him at his current odds-on best price.

Cloudy Dream – 161 – 4/1

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Yet to win beyond 2m4f but has had his form well and truly boosted by his Aintree conqueror Definitly Red winning at Cheltenham last month. Yet to convince me that 3m is his ideal distance and the 4/1 isn’t big enough to be considered value.

Fountains Windfall – 164+ – 6/1

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Unlucky not to win the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton’s Christmas meeting but made up for it by strolling away with a handicap there last time. Only 2lb behind Native River and Saphir De Rheu on adjusted ratings but he’s match fit. If you think the other two may only be 95% fit then you have to think he’s going to run a massive race. Clearly stays 3m well and is available at 6/1! At that price I’ll be getting involved if only to give me a likely huge trading position. He has to trade much shorter than that price in running and given how well he is in himself he must take some beating against unfit rivals.

Saphir De Rheu – 166 – 7/2

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Not seen since running in last year’s Grand National so has a big lay-off to overcome. Is joint top-rated on adjusted ratings with Native River but is also in same position regarding race fitness. Paul Nicholls will not want to give him a rough time first up with the Grand National his season target. Throw in the fact he has a relatively poor Newbury record and that’s a big enough case not to row in with him.

Traffic Fluide – 157 – 33/1

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Has 9lb to find with the top-rated on adjusted ratings and yet to prove he stays this far. Should struggle again like he has all season.

Suggested Play

I’m backing FOUNTAINS WINDFALL at 6/1. That price is far too big to ignore although given the final decs aren’t through it is a double gamble. For me he’s a 11-4 shot at best and will definitely trade much shorter than the 6/1 in-running which will help us lock in a profit if trading is your thing.