The Cheltenham Gold Cup is once again almost upon us and once again it’s Bobs Worth who is the horse to beat.
Just a little under two months away, the nine-year-old heads 36 entries for the Cup and is unbeaten at the Festival in three successive races, taking the 2011 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and the 2012 RSA Chace, before taking the cup in an astonishing win last year.
Hampered at the third last fence and still eight lengths behind, jockey Barry Geraghty produced a strong late run to pass Long Run and Sir Des Champ to complete a feat that hadn’t been done since Flyingbolt since 1966.
Long Run will also once again be vying for the Grade 1 National Hunt race, and rider Sam Waley-Cohen believes whilst Bobs Worth is the leader, he will have to put up his best ever race.
He said, “The form of all the leading contenders is extremely strong. In reality whoever wins it is going to have to run up to a mark not yet achieved.”
“Bobs Worth’s form looks incredibly impressive and is probably the one to beat.”
The Nicky Henderson trained horse is valued at 3/1 for the Gold Cup according to Freebets, following a run of seven victories in his last 10 outings, although Cue Card, who pipped the horse at Haymarket in November is also set to feature.
The runner-up of last year’s event, Sir Des Champs, will miss the race through injury after suffering slight damage to a tendon, whilst big names Long Run, Triolo D’Alene, and Silviniaco Conti will all line up.
Silviniaco Conti took the King George last year and lies second favourite. Paul Nicholls’ horse had to pull out of the main event last year, and will be desperate to go head-to-head with Bobs Worth on March 14. The horse showed he was in terrific shape with a Boxing Day victory at Kempton Park and Nicholls is now desperate to get him ready for the Gloucestershire race.
He said, “He had a great chance last season and was cantering when he came down but he was always going to be a better horse this season. With his jumping fine-tuned and better ground he’ll take all the beating.”
It’s going to be an incredible Cheltenham Festival this year round. All the contenders are in fine runs of form, and although Bobs Worth is out there as favourite, it could be an interesting final furlong come race day.