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Bobs Worth could be just the job for Gold Cup

Bobs Worth and Long Run spearhead a formidable team of five Nicky Henderson-trained horses among 40 entries for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15.

Sam Waley-Cohen leads Long Run to Gold Cup glory in 2011. Picture: Reuters
Sam Waley-Cohen leads Long Run to Gold Cup glory in 2011. Picture: Reuters

The master of Seven Barrows finally claimed the blue riband of National Hunt racing when Long Run triumphed in 2011 and he will head back to Prestbury Park with strong claims of regaining his crown following his victory in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

However, it is Hennessy Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth that heads ante-post lists, a horse unbeaten in four starts at Cheltenham and a winner at the last two Festivals.

Last season's Champion Chase victor Finian's Rainbow is also in the mix for Henderson along with Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre and Roberto Goldback.

Ireland have not won the Gold Cup since War Of Attrition in 2006, but can call on an extremely strong squad this time around.

Heading the raiding team are Sir Des Champs, who could aim to give champion trainer Willie Mullins his first Gold Cup haul, and Peter Casey's exciting Flemenstar. The latter looked to be all over the winner turning for home in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and although his stamina gave out after the final fence, owner Stephen Curran is looking forward to seeing his charge tackle three miles for the second time in the Hennessy Gold Cup in early February.

"He's in great order," said Curran, "but we will make plans for Cheltenham much closer to the time. He'll be entered in the Queen Mother, the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup, but we're just concentrating on the Hennessy."

Although without stable stalwarts Kauto Star and Denman this term, Paul Nicholls will almost certainly be strongly represented.

Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, Lexus Chase scorer Tidal Bay, Kauto Stone and What A Friend are a formidable quartet for the champion trainer.

Meanwhile, Tom George's potential dark horse Mail De Bievre could reappear at Newbury next month.

The eight-year-old performed well in France but has not been seen since running over hurdles in September 2011. "He had an injury," said George, "but hopefully he's over that."

The master of Seven Barrows finally claimed the blue riband of National Hunt racing when Long Run triumphed in 2011 and he will head back to Prestbury Park with strong claims of regaining his crown following his victory in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

However, it is Hennessy Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth that heads ante-post lists, a horse unbeaten in four starts at Cheltenham and a winner at the last two Festivals.

Last season's Champion Chase victor Finian's Rainbow is also in the mix for Henderson along with Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre and Roberto Goldback.

Ireland have not won the Gold Cup since War Of Attrition in 2006, but can call on an extremely strong squad this time around.

Heading the raiding team are Sir Des Champs, who could aim to give champion trainer Willie Mullins his first Gold Cup haul, and Peter Casey's exciting Flemenstar. The latter looked to be all over the winner turning for home in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and although his stamina gave out after the final fence, owner Stephen Curran is looking forward to seeing his charge tackle three miles for the second time in the Hennessy Gold Cup in early February.

"He's in great order," said Curran, "but we will make plans for Cheltenham much closer to the time. He'll be entered in the Queen Mother, the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup, but we're just concentrating on the Hennessy."

Although without stable stalwarts Kauto Star and Denman this term, Paul Nicholls will almost certainly be strongly represented.

Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, Lexus Chase scorer Tidal Bay, Kauto Stone and What A Friend are a formidable quartet for the champion trainer.

Meanwhile, Tom George's potential dark horse Mail De Bievre could reappear at Newbury next month.

The eight-year-old performed well in France but has not been seen since running over hurdles in September 2011. "He had an injury," said George, "but hopefully he's over that."

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