KING'S Odyssey looks the value call in a typically wide-open renewal of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

A strong field of 11 runners will go to post for the two-mile-five-furlong contest and few can be discounted with any certainty.

Paul Nicholls, who claimed a record fourth victory in the race with Frodon 12 months ago, fires a three-pronged assault, with Clan Des Obeaux and Le Prezien both at the forefront of the betting.

However, it will take a huge performance from Clan Des Obeaux to strike gold under top weight in soft ground, while Le Prezien is talented but his jumping fails to convince.

The admirable Splash Of Ginge bids to follow up last month's victory in the BetVictor Gold Cup, but no horse has done the double since Exotic Dancer 11 years ago and, unlike a few of his main rivals, King's Odyssey appears to have been trained specifically for this race.

The Evan Williams-trained eight-year-old shaped with abundant promise when third over an inadequate trip on his seasonal reappearance at Carlisle and that should leave him cherry-ripe for his big race assignment.

His mark has dropped to 140, which is only 1lb higher than when scoring handsomely over this course and distance on soft terrain back in January of last year.

While that was a while ago, he has been lightly raced since, is still only an eight-year-old and he has less than 11st on his back, so he ticks plenty of boxes.

Irish challenger Melon can see off the older brigade to land the Unibet International Hurdle.

Local favourite The New One bids for his fourth victory in the race for Nigel Twiston-Davies, but is not the force he was in his pomp.

Having finished runner-up here 12 months ago and second in three renewals of the Champion Hurdle, My Tent Or Yours would definitely not be winning out of turn, but does find victories hard to come by and conditions will not be ideal.

The Willie Mullins-trained Melon has a bit to find with his two main rivals on the book, but then he is considerably younger and open to significant improvement having run just four times over hurdles.

He was far from disgraced in finishing second in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle here in March and while his comeback victory at Down Royal was more solid than spectacular, he is likely to strip much fitter for the outing.

Melon will need to beating My Tent Or Yours and The New One if he is to be considered a serious contender for Champion Hurdle glory.

Rocklander was impressive on his debut over fences for Tom George and merits the step up in class in the bet365 December Novices' Chase at Doncaster.

The other Grade Two on a quality Town Moor card is the Summit Juvenile Hurdle and having made a big impression on his British introduction at Warwick, Nicky Henderson's We Have A Dream gets the nod.

The main attraction on the all-weather at Newcastle is the Betway Conditions Stakes - a fast-track qualifier for the marathon at Lingfield on Good Friday.

The top two in terms of ratings in an eight-strong field are Watersmeet and Mountain Bell and preference is for the latter.

Ralph Beckett's filly won a Listed prize and was only narrowly denied in a Group Three on the grass last year.

She heads into this winter fresh after just two runs so far in 2017, performing with credit in the Simon Stakes at Newbury and most recently finishing second on her all-weather debut in the Wild Flower at Kempton.

She steps up to two miles for the first time at Gosforth Park and if her stamina does last out, she could be a potent force in similar races in the coming weeks and months.


CHELTENHAM: 12.10 Apple's Shakira, 12.45 Movewiththetimes, 1.20 Gino Trail, 1.55 King's Odyssey, 2.30 Equus Secretus, 3.05 MELON (NAP), 3.40 Lamanver Odyssey.

DONCASTER: 12.00 One For Billy, 12.30 Clondaw Castle, 1.05 Poker School, 1.40 Irish Roe, 2.10 Rocklander, 2.45 We Have A Dream, 3.20 Sego Success.

FAIRYHOUSE: 12.05 Brelade, 12.35 Monbeg Notorious, 1.10 Stormy Ireland, 1.45 Mount Hanover, 2.20 Dylrow, 2.55 Off The Charts, 3.30 Colreevy.

HEREFORD: 12.20 Paddy The Oscar, 12.55 Vision Des Flos, 1.30 Shanty Town, 2.05 Ozzie The Oscar, 2.40 Court Minstrel, 3.15 Quiz Master, 3.45 Topofthecotswolds.

NEWCASTLE: 12.40 British Art, 1.15 Mountain Bell, 1.50 Warm Oasis, 2.25 Bigbadboy, 3.00 King Kevin, 3.35 Windsor Cross, 4.05 Rene Mathis, 4.35 Windforpower.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Street Sensation, 6.15 Hisar, 6.45 Pulsating, 7.15 Coronation Day, 7.45 Raashdy, 8.15 Andok, 8.45 Sword Exceed, 9.15 Peace Terms.

DOUBLE: King's Odyssey and Melon.