Bobs Worth: bidding for back-to-back Gold Cup winsPICTURE: Getty Images
Cheltenham Festival: Bobs Worth ready for another Gold Cup battle
BOBS WORTH takes on a challenge that proved beyond Kauto Star, Denman and Long Run when he attempts to become the first horse to win successive Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cups since three-time hero Best Mate.
A limited campaign has featured a Lexus Chase win and a defeat in the Betfair Chase and he returns to Cheltenham for only his second start in Britain since last March at a track where his record is five wins from five runs.
A year ago he produced a strong rally to win the race, in which Silviniaco Conti fell at the third-last, on his first start since the Hennessy Gold Cup the previous December.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "There is no disputing that if Silviniaco Conti hadn't fallen they would have been first and second last year, but nobody can know which way around.
"You can eliminate his run in the Betfair Chase - it was not a race that suited him. Silviniaco Conti was beaten in it as well. He then went King George, we went Lexus and now we meet again.
"Silviniaco Conti was going really well last year and Bobs Worth wasn't travelling that great. Possibly the one thing we know is that when Bobs Worth gets to the bottom of the hill and he is in contention he will go back up it. Once he puts his head down it's going to be a very tough horse who stays in front of him or tries to get by him. He will just gallop until he drops.
"We've been very happy with him. The last week has gone really well. Last year we came in having not run since the Hennessy, this year it's the Lexus, which is a month later."
Silviniaco Conti is one of 13 rivals set to take on Bobs Worth for the Gold Cup, though a decision on the participation of Last Instalment will be made this morning, with connections wanting to walk the track and assess ground conditions.
Following a dry night, the going remains good, good to soft in places. Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "There was no change overnight and the chase ground is all fresh today. We've kept a few yards on the inside for them for today which we haven't been on for 12 months.
"The early fog is clearing by late morning to leave a sunny afternoon."