Royal Auclair heads a field of 19 declared for the Betfred Gold Cup Chase at Sandown tomorrow.

Runner-up in the feature on the last day of the National Hunt season two years ago, the nine-year-old is one of two runners from the Paul Nicholls stable.

The Ditcheat handler, assured of his first trainers' title, also runs My Will in the handicap chase over three miles five and a half furlongs.

A three-strong team from deposed champion Martin Pipe is led by  Puntal, who pipped Royal Auclair by a short head in 2004. The Nicholashayne trainer is also looking to Therealbandit and It Takes Time to end his season on a high.

Philip Hobbs, currently third in the table, is double-handed with One Knight and Lacdoudal as is Nicky Henderson, who saddles Liberthine and Calling Brave.

Jack High bids to repeat last year's triumph for Ted Walsh and is one of two Irish challengers with Pat Hughes running Montayral and not Point Barrow, winner of the Irish Grand National.

The Francois Doumen-trained Innox, a first-fence faller in the John Smith's Grand National, is the sole French raider.

The colours of Innox's owner JP McManus will also be carried by Grand National fifth Risk Accessor, trained by Jonjo O'Neill.

Four-times Grand National-winning trainer Ginger McCain will be hoping Inca Trail can end his career on a winning note before he hands over his licence to his son, Donald.

Leading fancies Eric's Charm and You're Special have stood their ground while the field is completed by Presenting Express and High Cotton. Hughes has taken out Point Barrow because of the going.

"The ground's too fast for him," said Hughes.

"He's a horse for next season now. There's nothing left for him."

However, the County Carlow trainer does run Montayral, who was third to Puntal two years ago.

"He'll have to run better than he has been doing to have a chance," added Hughes.

Oliver Sherwood has warned he will consider pulling out Eric's Charm if the ground is too quick.

"He's in tremendous form, he's almost too well," said the Upper Lambourn trainer.

"I could have done with some rain but we can't control the weather. I'm going to see how it rides before definitely committing him. As I've said all along, if it is too quick he will not run.

"He had a hiccup after Cheltenham last year so I'm going to see how it rides today. Fingers crossed we can give him the all-clear.

"He's fresh. We couldn't get him back into training before Christmas time because he picked up an injury at the Cheltenham Festival last year and we had to go softly softly.

"He was impressive at Sandown on his last run and this was the obvious target."