Larger context for LACK in Corpus USbrown_UKbncw/UK_bncw.txt
Scudamore said: "I'll watch how Country Member runs before deciding on my Gold Cup ride."
Wide open Granville Again, an unlucky faller when poised to deliver his challenge in the race 12 months ago, has been off the track since he finished eight lengths third behind Mighty Mogul at Kempton over Christmas.
But Scudamore's decision could see him start clear favourite in a race that has lacked a dominant performer since the death of Mighty Mogul.
Ladbrokes spokesman Rob Hartnett said: " It is the widest open Champion Hurdle in living memory, but Granville Again has been a warm order since Scu climbed aboard."
A field of 18 will line-up for the big race after eight horses dropped out, among them Muse and Mole Board, whose chances were considered slim on ground now good to firm and good in places on the hurdles course.
Punters were concentrating their interest on horses with proven form at Cheltenham, in particular Oh So Risky, Kribensis, Ruling and Duke Of Monmouth ( cut to 25--1 from 50--1).
Docklands Express was the best backed horse in the Gold Cup today.
He is now 8--1 with William Hill, 9--1 with Corals and 10--1 with Ladbrokes.
Toby Balding will see how conditions are at Cheltenham tomorrow before deciding whether to run Cool Ground in the Gold Cup.
Last year's winner could miss the race because of the fast ground.