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Nicky Henderson banking on Bobs Worth coming up Gold

Updated: Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 13:55 | Comments

Bobs worth with Barry Geraghty aboard
Bobs worth with Barry Geraghty aboard

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Nicky Henderson is banking on Bobs Worth again winning the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup to help fill the massive void left by a couple of his absent stablemates.

The Seven Barrows team could not have envisaged a season where Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig, both winners at the meeting last year, would only run once between them.

But the latter has not even seen a racecourse this term, while Sprinter Sacre was pulled up on his sole start at Kempton over Christmas after his heart problems first surfaced.

While Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig are flash and exuberant in how they go about their work, Bobs Worth is nothing of the sort - but Henderson would not have it any other way.

After a rare blip at Haydock on his comeback, Bobs Worth travelled to Ireland and powered home to win the Lexus Chase, leaving several of his Gold Cup rivals toiling.

"You always forget that Bob is there because he's such a reliable, lovely person and I've always said that," said Henderson.

"I bemoan that I haven't got Sprinter Sacre or Simonsig this year but the actual star of the show, there he is, doing his own thing.

"Sprinter is all flash and as good a looking horse as you'll ever see. Bob hasn't got his natural talent but I bet Bob has a bigger heart.

"He does not know when to give up."

"He's a Denman/Kicking King-type model - he's a big beast" Barry Geraghty on Last Instalment

Barry Geraghty also has a soft spot for Bobs Worth. Not only has he provided the jockey with wins at three successive Festivals, Geraghty sold him to Henderson as a young horse.

The one new rival for Bobs Worth, however, is Philip Fenton's Last Instalment, and Geraghty has huge respect for the Irish Hennessy winner.

"I was fairly confident we'd see more of Bobs Worth's old self at Leopardstown and he was good," said Geraghty. "He seems well at home, he's worked great and I'd be fairly hopeful.

"He [Last Instalment] has obviously been held up with injury, but I love the horse and I'd be very fearful of him. He jumps, he travels, and he's a big, strong horse.

"He's a Denman/Kicking King-type model - he's a big beast."

Noel Fehily rides the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti, a faller late on 12 months ago when still in contention.

He was a good winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton where he outstayed Cue Card.

"The King George was a great race with no hiding place," Fehily told Betfred TV.

"I wouldn't have a problem about the hill. He's very balanced, he's not over big so going up and down hills shouldn't be a problem.

"Last year he just got a little bit keen and for whatever reason just ran into the bottom of the fence and it just caught him out.

"He's a sound jumper and hasn't made a mistake in two runs this year, so I wouldn't worry about his jumping.

"I rode him in a gallop with Big Buck's at Exeter and he felt great, Paul Nicholls is brilliant at preparing horses for the Gold Cup.

"Bobs Worth is a worthy favourite, his form at Cheltenham is very good. Last Instalment just jumped a fraction to his right the last day I thought and all his form is on flat tracks.

"To win a Gold Cup is a dream, you grown up watching racing and it's the race everyone wants to win."

Lyreen Legend was just touched off by Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase 12 months ago and his trainer Dessie Hughes could do with a change of luck after the fatal fall of Our Conor in the Champion Hurdle.

"He's only had two runs for one reason and another,” said Hughes. "He was very near the other horses and I think he's entitled to take his chance.

"There's not a lot between five or six of them so hopefully we'll be in the mix."

Lord Windermere has been slightly disappointing this season but trainer Jim Culloty is hoping a return to Cheltenham sparks him back to life.

"I am happy with Lord Windermere and he likes Cheltenham," said Culloty. "I wish I was going to Cheltenham with a better run under his belt but for various reasons things have just not gone right for him this season.

"There is nothing wrong with him and he is going to Cheltenham in good old form.

"He likes Cheltenham and we will see how we get on. The perfect ground for him would be what he encountered last year, which is the easy side of good.

"It might be a bit faster than ideal for him but as long as it is not proper quick he will be running."

When reminded of the fact that is the 10th anniversary of Best Mate's third Gold Cup victory, Culloty said: "It feels like yesterday. Where do the years go?"

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