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A guide to the runners in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday:

BOBS WORTH (Nicky Henderson)

Neither flashy nor spectacular, but no doubting the nine-year-old’s class. A poor seasonal return in the Betfair Chase is a distant memory after his clinical display in the Lexus at Christmas. Loves Cheltenham and its hill, and has been trained to the minute for this day. Reminiscent of Best Mate in many ways and will be hard to beat. Rating out of 10 (10).

CLOUDY TOO (Sue Smith)

Solid in his own way and is enjoying a fine season, winning the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby over Christmas before finishing second to Captain Chris at Ascot. Firmly put in his place by the winner, though, and unlikely to be troubling the principals. (5)

FIRST LIEUTENANT (Mouse Morris)

Admirably consistent but invariably has to settle for the role of bridesmaid on the big day and just a suspicion we might have seen the best of him. (6)

HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (Venetia Williams)

Perfectly capable handicapper, with a win over Triolo D’Alene to his name, but looks out of his depth. (3)

KATENKO (Venetia Williams)

Progressive last season and very much a talking horse before last season’s renewal only to be ruled out through injury. Fell in the Hennessy. (3)

KNOCKARA BEAU (George Charlton)

Enjoyed a well-deserved moment in the spotlight when stunning Big Buck’s in the Cleeve Hurdle and has a liking for Cheltenham. Finished sixth in the 2012 renewal and might be capable of repeating that feat. (6)

LAST INSTALMENT (Philip Fenton)

Top-class novice who missed possibly his best years through injury but looked terrific when springing a minor surprise in the Irish Hennessy. Dominated from the front there so unlikely to get his own way again, and must have plenty of give in the ground. Has to go well if conditions suit, though. (7)

LORD WINDERMERE (Jim Culloty)

Tremendous effort to land top honours in the RSA Chase last year, but that is a race that can leave its mark and it looks that way again as three runs since have not offered much hope that he can bounce back in a race of this nature. (5)

LYREEN LEGEND (Dessie Hughes)

A close second to Lord Windermere in the RSA, so there is some hope for his supporters, but, in reality, does not look good enough. (4)

ON HIS OWN (Willie Mullins)

Excellent strike-rate over fences and had been gearing towards a third try at the Grand National but such was the manner of his win in the Bobbyjo Chase that connections had a rethink, believing he has earned a try at a big race of this nature. Cost STG27,500 ($A50,958) to supplement and that decision has to be respected given who trains him. (7)

SILVINIACO CONTI (Paul Nicholls)

Travelling at least as well as anything when coming down three from home last year. Anyone’s guess what might have happened from there but it is hard to think he would have been out of the first three. Been building towards a repeat and outstayed Cue Card to lift the King George. A big effort is expected. (9)

TEAFORTHREE (Rebecca Curtis)

No mug by any means as a Welsh National runner-up and a Festival winner already, but essentially limbering up for the Grand National, where he will be a different proposition. (5)

THE GIANT BOLSTER (David Bridgwater)

Trainer lacks nothing for confidence and this horse seems to love Cheltenham and the Gold Cup, having been fourth and second in the last two runnings. Looked right back to his best in the Argento Chase in January and could just run a screamer again without winning. (7)

TRIOLO D’ALENE (Nicky Henderson)

Something of a wildcard and no forlorn hope behind the trainer’s first-string, Bobs Worth. Hennessy win was a surprise, as his starting price suggests, but still only a seven-year-old and shows enough at home that he is Sprinter Sacre’s work-companion. Just a bit off-putting that he is running here before the National. (8)

VERDICT:

1 BOBS WORTH

2 Silviniaco Conti

3 Triolo D’Alene

 
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