/ Racing

All the big guns have stood their ground at the five-day declaration stage for the Gold Cup

Updated: Saturday, 09 Mar 2013 14:56 | Comments

Sir Des Champs is one of 12 horses still standing their ground for Friday's Gold Cup
Sir Des Champs is one of 12 horses still standing their ground for Friday's Gold Cup

There are 12 remaining horses at the latest entry stage for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with all the big guns standing their ground.

Bobs Worth and 2011 winner Long Run give Nicky Henderson a strong hand as he attempts to wrestle the championship from Paul Nicholls.

Long Run will be wearing cheekpieces in public for the first time while Bobs Worth has not had a run since the Hennessy Gold Cup over 100 days ago, however.

Sir Des Champs will be aiming to give Willie Mullins a first win in the race and Ireland their first winner since War Of Attrition in 2006.

First Lieutenant has also been left in by Mouse Morris, under the same Gigginstown House Stud ownership, who also could run Bog Warrior.

Nicholls has dominated the race in recent years and has just one chance this year with Silviniaco Conti.

Cape Tribulation, Captain Chris, last year's runner-up The Giant Bolster, Sunnyhillboy, Wayward Prince and Monbeg Dude complete the list of possible runners.

All the major ante-post fancies are among 21 acceptors for Friday's JCB Triumph Hurdle.

The Dessie Hughes-trained Our Conor, Paul Nicholls' Far West and Nicky Henderson's Rolling Star are the three main market fancies and all appear.

As well as Our Conor the Irish challenge could be also supplemented by Willie Mullins' Blood Cotil and Diakali, among others.

Gary Moore's Chris Pea Green, the John Quin duo of Kashmir Peak and Hidden Justice and John Ferguson's Grade One winner Ruacana are all there.

Nicholls has also left in Lac Fontana and Sametegal while Henderson could also run Vasco Du Ronceray.

Empiracle, a leading fancy for Wednesday's Weatherbys Champion Bumper, has been ruled out of the race.

The six-year-old was an impressive winner at Huntingdon last October and trainer Jeremy Scott had been preparing him for his Festival date since that victory.

However, Empiracle has now sustained a minor injury which means he will miss out at Prestbury Park.

Scott said: "He has picked up a minor injury which has led us to make the decision not to run him on Wednesday as we do not think we will have him right in time.

"We are of course very disappointed not to be able to run."

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