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Bobs Worth tops the Gold Cup field

Updated: Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 12:47 | Comments

All eyes will be on Bobs Worth for the Cheltenham Gold Cup
All eyes will be on Bobs Worth for the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ante-post favourite Bobs Worth spearheads 11 declarations for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old has not been seen since December when he emerged an outstanding winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

Henderson is also represented by the 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run, who claimed the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Captain Chris, a narrow runner-up in the King George, is also in contention for the Philip Hobbs team.

Last season's Gold Cup second The Giant Bolster has another try for trainer David Bridgwater.

Paul Nicholls will also have high hopes for Silviniaco Conti, who is unbeaten in three starts this season and was particularly impressive in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

Ireland are well represented by the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs, who defeated Flemenstar in the Irish Hennessy on his last start in February.

Compatriot Bog Warrior is still in the final field, but he also holds an entry in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on Thursday.

Jonjo O'Neill pitches John Smith's Grand National aspirant Sunnyhillboy in at the deep end.

Cape Tribulation, Monbeg Dude and Wayward Prince complete the line-up.

First Lieutenant, who runs in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, is the only defection.

Nicholls pins his hopes on Wonderful Charm and Celestial Halo, who carries the Big Buck's colours of the Stewart Family.

"Wonderful Charm had good form in France, we liked him at home, Ruby liked him when he rode him work the other day and we thought if you don't shoot, you don't win," said Nicholls.

"We don't know whether he'll stay because he's never been further than two and a half, but he's done everything right at home and it's a bit of a challenge.

"We think he'll run a big race, but whether he'll stay, we don't know. Because he haven't run him over the winter, we don't know what we've got."

Celestial Halo has been a regular at the Festivals, with his finest hour coming in the Triumph Hurdle in 2008.

"Celestial Halo was beaten a neck in a Champion Hurdle, won a Triumph and won over two and a half, but has never been further than that," said Nicholls.

"He picked up a leg injury at Cheltenham last year but he ran well at Wincanton and if he stays, he can run a good race as it's very open and there are lots of question marks over quite a lot of horses."

Peddlers Cross had Reve de Sivola back in second when winning the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle in 20010 and he was runner-up in the Champion Hurdle a year later.

He has back over hurdles after mixed fortunes over fences and his trainer Donald McCain is adamant the horse retains his ability.

"In both his races this season he's travelled like a very good horse and not done a lot off the bridle and that's a little bit his way. He can be quite switched off when he hits the front," said the Cholmondeley handler.

"Is he the same horse he was? His home work is the same and the rest we'll have to find out on the day.

"The signs at home are positive and Jason was very happy the last day, but there's only one place we'll find out if he's the horse he was."

Tony McCoy is hoping that better ground will help Get Me Out Of Here as he steps up to three miles for the first time.

"I would have given him a good each-way chance on good ground but he's run twice on heavy ground this year and run deplorably. He's very ground dependent," he said.

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