Bobs Worth propelled to the head of the ante-post betting for the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup after producing a mouth-watering performance in Saturday’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, where he beat Tidal Bay by three-and-a-quarter lengths, in a most memorable renewal of the staying handicap chase.
Paddy Power were the most impressed with the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old’s performance and slashed him to 7/2 favourite for Cheltenham’s blue riband event and if he can reproduce that sort of sumptuous display in March then he will be extremely tough to beat in a race that is simmering into an epic renewal on the final day of the four-day extravaganza.
Kept in behind the leaders by Barry Geraghty, last year’s RSA Chase winner was always looking a danger and whilst First Lieutenant (14/1 for Gold Cup) displayed magnificent agility over his obstacles up front, the Seven Barrows inmate was slowly getting into contention, scraping the paint on the inside.
However, it was two fences from home that he swamped his Irish opponent and duly scooted clear in the final two furlongs, with old stalwart Tidal Bay (18/1) running an absolute corker off top weight to chase him home, and there will be no surprise if that triumvirate are fighting it out in the closing stages of next year’s Gold Cup, but Bobs Worth does look a potential star of the future.
He has already won twice at the Festival with wins in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle and the RSA, but there is set to be another dual Cheltenham Festival winner that will take his chance, as Willie Mullins’ exciting Sir Des Champs will be a major player, and he is 6/1 second favourite for the Gold Cup crown.
After winning the Martin Pipe two years ago, the Co. Carlow inmate then trounced his rivals in the Jewson Novices’ Chase last season and still with an unblemished record could spearhead the Emerald Isle’s onslaught on the race this campaign and he could well be another superstar come the big race on March 15.
He is expected to lock horns with Flemenstar (8/1) in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in early December and that will certainly test his Gold Cup credentials, as Peter Casey’s star is another emerging talent from across the Irish Sea, who could make the pilgrimage to Prestbury Park in what is set to be the strongest Irish challenge for a number of years.
Paul Nicholls may have bid farewell to the old guard, but Silviniaco Conti could thrust him back into the limelight and the Charlie Hall Chase winner was sublime when beating 2011 Gold Cup champion Long Run in the Betfair Chase and the Ditcheat inmate is available at 13/2 in the latest betting with Paddy Power. Meanwhile, Long Run, who has struggled to string a line of victories together, was eased to 8/1 following that Haydock Park success and could be worth taking on.
Bigger priced ones that could venture into the potential each-way reckoning include last year’s runner-up The Giant Bolster (18/1), who was third in the aforementioned Betfair Chase, whilst 2010 winner Imperial Commander could attract some support at 50/1 if Nigel Twiston-Davies can get him firing after a lengthy time on the sidelines.
7/2 Bobs Worth
6/1 Sir Des Champs
13/2 Silviniaco Conti
8/1 Long Run
12/1 Al Ferof
14/1 First Lieutenant
14/1 Last Instalment
16/1 The Giant Bolster
18/1 Tidal Bay
20/1 Kauto Stone
25/1 Hidden Cyclone
25/1 Cue Card
25/1 Grands Crus
Odds supplied by PaddyPower.com, who will offer best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
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