Defending Champion, Bobs Worth, heads a list of 36 runners for the 2014 Gold Cup after the initial declarations were made on Wednesday. The countdown to the Cheltenham Festival is now well and truly on and the announcement of the Gold Cup entries is another exciting step on that journey. Bobs Worth (9/4), the defending champ, looked to be back to somewhere near his best over Christmas as he won the Lexus Chase and as a result he is the current favourite to win the race in March.
Nicky Henderson has also entered 2011 winner, Long Run (40/1), and Hennessy Gold Cup winner, Triolo D'Alene (40/1), in the race and could run all three. Long Run has suffered a dip in form since winning the King George in 2012, while Triolo D'lene is a progressive chaser who may come in for some each-way money.
All of the main market rivals to Bobs Worth have received an entry to the race including Silviniaco Conti (7/2). The Paul Nicholls trained horse stormed to victory in the King George over Christmas and there has been plenty of money for him in the Gold Cup Market ever since. Nicholls has also entered Al Ferof (16/1), Rocky Creek (33/1), Unioniste and Tidal Bay in the race as he looks to build on the famous Denman, Kauto Star and See More Business Gold Cup successes.
Ryanair and Betfair Chase winner Cue Card (8/1) is also on the list of entries as connections wait to decide on his Cheltenham target. He appeared to run out of gas in testing ground to finish second in the King George, but better ground in March could well tempt the Tizzards to run him in the Gold Cup.
As always, there is a strong contingent of Irish raiders entered in the race with First Lieutenant (12/1) perhaps the main danger at this stage. He finished second in the Lexus recently while other Irish entries include Rubi Ball and Boston Bob (25/1), who could yet turn up in the World Hurdle instead.
At this stage though it is Bobs Worth who is the market leader ahead of Silviniaco Conti and provided those two turn up fit and well, they are expected to be fighting for favouritism. The nine-year-old remains unbeaten around Prestbury Park with three Festival wins to his name and plenty of punters will be backing him to make it a fourth in March,
Fulll List of 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup Entries
Al Ferof, Arvika Ligeonniere, Bobs Worth, Bog Warrior, Boston Bob, Captain Chris, Champion Court, Cloudy Too, Cue Card, Dedigout, Dynaste, First Lieutenant, Harry Topper, Houblon Des Obeaux, Katenko, Knockara Beau, Last Instalment, Long Run, Lord Windermere, Lyreen Legend, Medermit, Monbeg Dude, Mount Benbulben, Rocky Creek, Roi Du Mee, Rubi Ball, Silviniaco Conti, Teaforthree, The Giant Bolster, Theatre Guide, Tidal Bay, Time for Rupert, Triolo D'Alene, Unioniste, Vino Griego, Wayward Prince