Sir Des Champs (left) and Long Run (right) are set for a re-matchPICTURE: Getty Images
Long Run and Sir Des Champs set for re-match
LONG RUN and Riverside Theatre look set to oppose Cheltenham Gold Cup second Sir Des Champs in the tote.com Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday, April 24.
Long Run, the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, finished third behind Sir Des Champs and stablemate Bobs Worth in this year's running, while 2012 Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre was fourth as he attempted to defend his crown in last month's renewal.
Nicky Henderson, who trains both stars, said: "It's very much the plan to take Long Run to the tote.com Punchestown Gold Cup and we are also intending to run Riverside Theatre in the same race. As things stand they are both due to run. They've come out of Cheltenham very well so we are looking forward to Punchestown, where I expect to send a good team."
Other potential runners in the Gold Cup include Kauto Stone of Paul Nicholls, Thursday's Betfred Bowl winner First Lieutenant and Captain Chris, a previous winner at Punchestown and sixth in the Gold Cup.
The best steeplechaser in the world, Sprinter Sacre, could yet have another race this season after receiving an entry for the Boylesports.com Champion Chase on Tuesday, April 23. Flemenestar and Sizing Europe, both defeated by Sprinter Sacre this season, are also in the mix for the Champion Chase.
Our Conor, a tremendous winner of the Triumph Hurdle, is expected to run in the AES Champion Four-year-old Hurdle if the ground is deemed suitable, on what would be his first outing since being purchased by Barry Connell.
"I want to run him at Punchestown. He's come out of Cheltenham in fabulous shape. You know when these sorts of horses win very easily that they are usually better afterwards. He's very hearty and very bright at the moment," said trainer Dessie Hughes.
"Looking back I couldn't believe that he could be going so easily with good horses off the bridle at the top of the hill at Cheltenham. It was a fabulous performance and I was surprised how easily he was going. We'll look forward to Punchestown."
A mouth-watering clash between Quevega and Solwhit could take place in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. In the absence of Big Buck's Solwhit has established himself as this season's outstanding staying hurdler, but Quevega has won the race three years running.
Champion hurdler Hurricane Fly could face Rock On Ruby again in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle, while Annie Power and Dressedtothenines feature in entries for the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle on Saturday, April 27.
Supreme Novices' winner Champagne Fever is engaged in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle alongside Ted Veale, the County Hurdle winner, and My Tent Or Yours.
The Growise Champion Novice Chase on the Tuesday could feature Jewson winner Benefficient, National Hunt Chase winner Back In Focus, Boston Bob, Dynaste and Third Intention.
Aintree and Cheltenham winner At Fishers Cross is entered for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle on the Wednesday alongside a raft of Willie Mullins-trained runners, including Pont Alexandre, Ballycasey and Un Atout, while Maghull first and second Special Tiara and Overturn could meet again in the Ryanair Novice Chase on the Thursday.