Initial entries for the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup have been made and at this stage 35 runners have been declared for the famous race at the Festival. Lord Windermere and Bobs Worth are perhaps the headline names on the list as the previous two winners of the contest and both are expected to line-up on March 13th at Prestbury Park.
Lord Windermere (16/1) famously won a thrilling Gold Cup last year in a near blanket finish and connections have been preparing the horse for a repeat victory ever since. His form this season has been slightly disappointing so far this winter but the Gold Cup is clearly his main aim and it would be foolish to right off his chances at this stage.
The current ante-post favourite for the Gold Cup is Silviniaco Conti (3/1) with the Paul Nicholls horse also among the initial list of entries. He won the King George VI Chase for a second time on Boxing Day in emphatic fashion and all roads now lead to the Festival for the horse. His travelled really well in the Gold Cup last year before tiring into 4th place which was a disappointment but his form this season is clearly the best and he is likely to go off well backed on the day.
Paul Nicholls has a great history with the Gold Cup as we all know and along with Silviniaco Conti, the Ditcheat handler has a number of other interesting runners currently engaged. They include Wonderful Charm, Sam Winner (33/1), Al Ferof and Black Thunder with Sam Winner perhaps the most likely of those to have a run in March with decent each-way claims.
Other interesting names given an entry to the Gold Cup include two top novices in the form of Kings Palace (33/1) and Coneygree who are clearly both highly thought of y their trainers and owners. They are both more than likely to run in the RSA Chase in March but both have impressed this season and both are in the field at this stage which is interesting in itself.
The Irish challenge is always a strong one and that is the case again this season with a number of top chasers from the Emerald Isle entered at this early stage. Lord Windermere is of course the headline act but other Irish contenders to consider include Lexus Chase winner Road To Riches (10/1) for Noel Meade and On His Own (20/1), who was a very close second last year for Willie Mullins.
The one headline in terms of horses missing from the field is perhaps the absence of Cue Card who connections had hoped would have turned into a Gold Cup horse during his career. He is a former Champion Bumper and Ryanair winner but after some indifferent performances so far this season, it now appears that Cue Card is likely to head back to the Ryanair if he makes it to the Cheltenham Festival at all this season.
2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup Entries
Al Ferof (age 10, trainer Paul Nicholls) Ballycasey (8, Willie Mullins) Black Thunder (8, Paul Nicholls) Bobs Worth (10, Nicky Henderson) Boston Bob (10, Willie Mullins) Carlingford Lough (9, John Kiely) Champagne Fever (8, Willie Mullins) Coneygree (8, Mark Bradstock) Djakadam (6, Willie Mullins) Don Cossack (8, Gordon Elliott) Double Ross (9, Nigel Twiston-Davies) Dynaste (9, David Pipe) Fingal Bay (9, Philip Hobbs) First Lieutenant (10, Mouse Morris) Harry Topper (8, Kim Bailey) Holywell (8, Jonjo O’Neill) Home Farm (8, Henry De Bromhead) Houblon Des Obeaux (8, Venetia Williams) Kings Palace (7, David Pipe) Lord Windermere (9, Jim Culloty) Ma Filleule (7, Nicky Henderson) Many Clouds (8, Oliver Sherwood) Morning Assembly (8, Pat Fahy) On His Own (11, Willie Mullins) River Choice (12, Richard Chotard) Road to Riches (8, Noel Meade) Sam Winner (8, Paul Nicholls) Shutthefrontdoor (8, Jonjo O’Neill) Silviniaco Conti (9, Paul Nicholls) Smad Place (8, Alan King) Spring Heeled (8, Jim Culloty) Taquin Du Seuil (8, Jonjo O’Neill) Theatre Guide (8, Colin Tizzard) The Giant Bolster (10, David Bridgwater) Unioniste (7, Paul Nicholls)