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Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup
BETDAQ
Grade 1, Cheltenham
£625,000 added,
5yo plus,
3m 2f 70y, Class 1  
Friday 16th March 2018

The three and a quarter mile showpiece, which carries record prize money of £625,000 in 2018, has attracted 38 entries this year, with a joint record high of 18 trained in Ireland.
 
Might Bite
© Racehorse Photos
Might Bite
 
Reigning Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, eight-year-old Sizing John (Jessica Harrington IRE), and the talented Might Bite (Nicky Henderson), winner of last year's RSA Chase at The Festival, are the star names among the entries following contrasting displays over Christmas.

Sizing John fluffed his lines in the G1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase won by Road to Respect (Noel Meade IRE), finishing down the field in seventh, while Might Bite overcame Double Shuffle (Tom George) by a length in the G1 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
 
Sizing John is bidding to become the first horse to win back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups since Best Mate (2002, 2003 & 2004).
 
Coney Island (Eddie Harty IRE) missed the Christmas action in favour of a graduation chase at Ascot on December 23, having not raced for just shy of a year, and justified the decision with an impressive nine-length victory over Adrien Du Pont.
 
Anibale Fly
© Caroline Norris
Anibale Fly
 
The lightly-raced seven-year-old had three starts over fences in his novice season before injury intervened, headlined by a decisive victory over Anibale Fly (Tony Martin IRE) in the G1 Drinmore Novices' Chase over two and a half miles at Fairyhouse in December, 2016.
 
Arguably, his best performance came later that month over a half a mile further when going down by a half-length to Our Duke (Jessica Harrington IRE) in the G1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Trainer Eddie Harty said: "I was delighted with Coney Island at Ascot. He has come out of it fit and well, and is ready to go again.
 
"He has been entered for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Ryanair Chase, and will also have entries in the Irish Gold Cup on February 4 and the Ascot Chase a fortnight later. 
 
"We will go for one of those two and then make a decision about which race to aim for at Cheltenham after that.

"I think the Gold Cup picture looks as much as it did before Christmas. Might Bite did nothing wrong, Sizing John did, but that might have been down to the proximity of his prep race, and nothing else really came to the fore. My fella has shortened up in the betting after Ascot, but it was only a graduation chase. Touch wood and all being well, we will be able to decide where we are going after his prep run. 
 
"I don't have any concerns about his stamina, but it would have been stupid not to put him in the Gold Cup and the Ryanair as we are still nine weeks out from Cheltenham and can finalise plans nearer the time."
 
As well as Might Bite, Nicky Henderson, seeking his third Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup success after Long Run (2011) and Bobs Worth (2013) also has entered Whisper, beaten a nose by his stable companion in the 2017 RSA Chase at The Festival and an excellent neck second in the Ladbrokes Trophy when giving a stone to Total Recall (Willie Mullins IRE) at Newbury in early December.
 
Total Recall
© Caroline Norris
Total Recall
 
Irish-trained horses have won three of the last four runnings of the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and Ireland's hand is strengthened further by a team of five from the stable of Willie Mullins.
 
Mullins, who has saddled the runner-up on five occasions, could call upon Djakadam, second in both 2015 and 2016 and fourth when favourite in 2017, Total Recall, Killultagh VicBachasson and Acapella Bourgeois.
 
Noel Meade has a strong hand, thanks to recent G1 victor Road To Respect, who was successful in handicap company at The Festival last year, and the progressive Disko, while Gordon Elliott's three entries include G1 victor Outlander.
 
The home challenge features last year's second and third, Minella Rocco (Jonjo O'Neill) and Native River (Colin Tizzard). The latter is yet to race this season but is being aimed at the race, while Native River's stablemate Cue Card, a dual winner at The Festival but a faller in the last two Cheltenham Gold Cups, is also engaged.
 
Coneygree (Mark Bradstock), who in 2015 became the first novice since Captain Christy in 1974 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, has recently had a wind operation following two disappointing efforts this season. Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) is the only horse to have regained the Cheltenham Gold Cup crown.
 
Nigel Twiston-Davies, victorious with Imperial Commander in 2010, is responsible for impressive G1 Betfair Chase hero Bristol De Mai and runaway Becher Handicap Chase victor Blaklion.

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
£625,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 2f 70y, Class 1
38 entries
Scratchings deadline Tuesday, February 13, £27,500 supplementary entry stage & six-day confirmation stage Saturday, March 10. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10.00am, Wednesday, March 14. Maximum number of runners - 24.

Horse
Age
Owner
Trainer
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)
8
Slaneyville Syndicate
Willie Mullins IRE
ANIBALE FLY (FR)
8
J P McManus
Tony Martin IRE
BACHASSON (FR)
7
E O'Connell
Willie Mullins IRE
BALKO DES FLOS (FR)
7
Gigginstown House Stud
Henry de Bromhead IRE
BLAKLION
9
S Such & CG Paletta
Nigel Twiston-Davies  
BRISTOL DE MAI (FR)
7
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Nigel Twiston-Davies  
CLAN DES OBEAUX (FR)
6
Mr & Mrs P Barber, G Mason, Sir A Ferguson
Paul Nicholls  
CLOUDY DREAM (IRE)
8
Trevor Hemmings
Malcolm Jefferson  
CONEY ISLAND (IRE)
7
J P McManus
Eddie Harty IRE
CONEYGREE
11
The Max Partnership
Mark Bradstock  
CUE CARD
12
Jean Bishop
Colin Tizzard  
DEFINITLY RED (IRE)
9
P J Martin
Brian Ellison  
DISKO (FR)
7
Gigginstown House Stud
Noel Meade IRE
DJAKADAM (FR)
9
Susannah Ricci
Willie Mullins IRE
DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE)
8
Crossed Fingers Partnership
Tom George  
EDWULF
9
J P McManus
Joseph O'Brien IRE
EMPIRE OF DIRT (IRE)
11
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
KILLULTAGH VIC (IRE)
9
Rose Boyd/BAnderson/Mrs MArmstrong
Willie Mullins IRE
MALA BEACH (IRE)
10
Chris Jones
Gordon Elliott IRE
MIGHT BITE (IRE)
9
The Knot Again Partnership
Nicky Henderson  
MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)
8
J P McManus
Jonjo O'Neill  
NATIVE RIVER (IRE)
8
Brocade Racing
Colin Tizzard  
OUR DUKE (IRE)
8
Cooper Family Syndicate
Jessica Harrington IRE
OUTLANDER (IRE)
10
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
ROAD TO RESPECT (IRE)
7
Gigginstown House Stud
Noel Meade IRE
ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE)
8
Diana Whateley
Philip Hobbs  
SAPHIR DU RHEU (FR)
9
The Stewart Family
Paul Nicholls  
SHANTOU FLYER (IRE)
8
Carl Hinchy
Richard Hobson  
SINGLEFARMPAYMENT
8
N T Griffith & H M Haddock
Tom George  
SIZING JOHN
8
Ann & Alan Potts Limited
Jessica Harrington IRE
SMAD PLACE (FR)
11
Mrs Peter Andrews
Alan King  
SUB LIEUTENANT (IRE)
9
Gigginstown House Stud
Henry de Bromhead IRE
TEA FOR TWO
9
Jane Williams & Len Jakeman
Nick Williams  
TENOR NIVERNAIS (FR)
11
Boultbee Brooks Ltd
Venetia Williams  
THE LAST SAMURI (IRE)
10
Paul & Clare Rooney
Kim Bailey  
TOTAL RECALL (IRE)
9
Slaneyville Syndicate
Willie Mullins IRE
VALSEUR LIDO (FR)
9
Gigginstown House Stud
Henry de Bromhead IRE
WHISPER (FR)
10
Walters Plant Hire Ltd
Nicky Henderson