Last Instalment confirmed as a runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

• Philip Fenton happy with the ground for Last Instalment
• Trainer walked course with connections on Friday morning

Last Instalment has been confirmed a runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his trainer, Philip Fenton, declared the ground at the track to be safe enough for his horse to take part.

"We've walked the course. The ground is good to yielding and we're happy to run," said Fenton. "The horse is in great form."

The trainer and the horse's jockey, Brian O'Connell, walked the course on Friday morning after raising concerns that the drying ground at Cheltenham may not be in Last Instalment's favour.

The horse, who is 8-1 third favourite for Friday's race, has had well documented problems in the past and his leg problems make him too fragile to risk on fast going. Last Instalment won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month on only his second start since he returned from nearly two years on the sidelines. The ground is currently described as good, good to soft in places.

Fenton has been charged with possessing banned substances, including anabolic steroids, and his Cheltenham Festival runners were only given the go-ahead by the British Horseracing Authority after their representatives had the horses he planned to run at the meeting tested.

Eddie O'Leary, spokesman for owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: "Philip has walked the course and he's happy. He said it's good to yielding, he's happy to [let the horse] take his chance.

"It'll be hard to beat Bobs Worth, we'd prefer softer ground but we haven't got softer ground. The main problem is, it's only halfway through a race you say: 'God, he shouldn't be here,' when you see he isn't acting on it. But hopefully it won't come to that."

O'Connell takes over on First Instalment after Gigginstown's first jockey, Bryan Cooper, broke his right leg in a fall at the meeting on Wednesday.

However, Gigginstown's other contender, First Lieutenant, has been declared a non-runner in the race, with the horse reported to have "not eaten up". © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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