Gold Cup – the likely lads, maybe men and loveable longshots
The likely lads – Bobs Worth, Sir Des Champs, Silvinaco Conti
This year’s Gold Cup is a fascinating contest in which the market leading trio all have questions to answer. Silviniaco Conti has been the most consistently impressive three mile chaser in training this season, improving with each of his Grade 1 wins in 2012/13.
The seven-year-old has been gifted a campaign free from health alarms, but the question persists, are concerns over his liking for Cheltenham’s undulating terrain the reason he’s swerved the festival for the last two seasons? It’s not a query you can level at the Pavarotti-gutsy Bobs Worth or Sir Des Champs, both of whom are unbeaten at the track.
The second and third horses in Bobs Worth’s Hennessey Gold Cup win earlier this term both advertised the strength of that form when finishing ahead of Sir Des Champs in Ireland at Christmas, but with no run since November his fitness is far from guaranteed.The latter’s smooth jumping deserted him on that occasion and with the Willie Mullins gelding yet to test himself at the Gold Cup trip his ability to last it out convincingly is far from vouched for.
The maybe men – Long Run, First Lieutenant
Long Run is the same age as Bobs Worth yet two years ago, when the latter was still but a callow novice hurdler he was winning his first Gold Cup. He put together his best run since that success when taking the King George at Kempton this Christmas on diabolically heavy ground. First Lieutenant is another with previous winning festival form and Mouse Morris’s chaser is entitled to be closer to Sir Des Champs in the betting than he is given he finished upsides of him at Leopardstown over Christmas.
The loveable longshots – Captain Chris
Despite never having won over a distance beyond two miles four or on going worse than good to soft Captain Chris ran an absolute stormer to finish a narrow second to Long Run in a heavy ground King George over Christmas. Granted better underfoot conditions this Phillip Hobbs inmate could make a mockery of his 25/1 price tag.