Henderson and King had voiced doubts about the suitability of the quickish ground at the Esher venue earlier in the week, however, both have at least signalled their intent. Just after 8am on Thursday, the going on the chase course was described as good, good to soft in places with selective watering taking place throughout the week. Edwardstone has already missed two engagements this season because King felt the ground was too quick for his charge, while Shishkin is returning having pulled up in the Champion Chase when he was subsequently found to be suffering from a rare bone condition. One horse who definitely runs is the Paul Nicholls-trained Greaneteen, last year's winner of the race and something of a Sandown specialist. He arrives having carried top weight to victory in the Haldon Gold Cup. There is a strong Irish challenge in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Gentleman Du Mee, who beat Edwardstone at Aintree, and the Pat Fahy-trained Dunvegan. In-form Venetia Williams has declared Champion Chase runner-up Funambule Sivola to make his seasonal debut. Last season, the seven-year-old, who is owned by the My Racing Manager Friends syndicate, won the Game Spirit Case at Newbury before the 40-1 shot finished second to Energumene at Cheltenham. Connections had hoped he would make his return sooner, but have been thwarted by the unseasonably dry autumn ground. Elli Morgan, who runs the ownership syndicate, will fly back from the Caribbean to see the horse run and she said: "He totally deserves to be there, but it is a hot race. "You have all the best two-milers in it and it will be interesting to see how it cuts up. "Alan King pulled Edwardstone out of the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and then the Ascot handicap, and I was kicking myself for not entering, as he was the one we would have worried about. "He does go well fresh and he is in really good order. I'd be happily surprised if he wins, but I would hope for a place. We'll see." She added: "He copes with every ground, but obviously Venetia doesn't like running them on very quick ground, so if it stays like it is, he'll be OK. "She won't risk him so early in the season, so if he runs, she'll be happy with it." All six of Funambule Sivola's wins have come from distances between one mile and seven furlongs and two miles and a furlong, and while open to the possibility he will get further, Morgan thinks he will likely stick to his optimum trip. "I don't think there is any real reason to take him off two miles, but it is obviously quite limited, isn't it?" she added. "Venetia will never be drawn on long-term plans, as she takes it race by race. We will see how he runs in the Tingle Creek and make a call from there. "She hasn't ruled out two and a half miles, but he has always been his best at two (miles). "She will kill me for saying it, but I'll take it on the chin - we have talked about the Queen Mother again. It would be churlish not to, wouldn't it? But we are a long way away from there."
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