Bobs Worth takes on 13 rivals in his defence of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

Nicky Henderson's gifted nine-year-old won the highlight of the Festival by seven lengths last season and returns to the Cotswolds on top of his form.

Barry Geraghty's companion banished memories of a subdued return at Haydock in November with a pretty ruthless display in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown a month later.

Runner-up that day was First Lieutenant, who finished second in last season's Ryanair Chase and returns to Cheltenham for trainer Mouse Morris and owners Gigginstown House Stud.

Gigginstown and trainer Philip Fenton have also declared Irish Hennessy winner Last Instalment, whose participation could be dependant upon how fast the ground will be at Cheltenham.

Henderson has a worthy second Gold Cup contender in Triolo D'Alene, who looked the real deal when winning the Hennessy at Newbury on his last outing in November. He will be partnered by Tony McCoy.

Paul Nicholls, who has claimed the Gold Cup four times, saddles King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, who had travelled very smoothly throughout the race last year before he fell three fences from home.

Irish interest is further spiked by the presence of On His Own, who was supplemented for the Gold Cup by trainer Willie Mullins and owner Graham Wylie, Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend.

Cheltenham specialist The Giant Bolster has finished second and fourth in the respective last two renewals and once again goes to the well for the David Bridgwater team.

Teaforthree, the ante-post favourite for the Crabbie's Grand National, warms up for Aintree at the top table, while Venetia Williams gives Houblon Des Obeaux and Katenko the chance to shine.

Yorkshire hopes pivot around the Sue Smith-trained Cloudy Too, runner-up to Captain Chris, who misses the Gold Cup due to injury, at Ascot last month.

The field is completed by Knockara Beau, who claimed the not inconsiderable scalp of Big Buck's on his penultimate start in the Cleeve Hurdle.

Kim Bailey has withdrawn Harry Topper due to the prospect of drying conditions. He is instead likely to run in the Betfred Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter a day later.

Bog Warrior also misses out.