Cape Tribulation (noseband) won the Pertemps at the 2012 festivalPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Jefferson's Tribulation cut for Gold Cup glory
MALCOLM JEFFERSON'S Cape Tribulation caused something of a shock at last year's Cheltenham Festival when Denis O'Regan didn't even have to pick up his whip to land the Pertemps Final, and Ladbrokes fear another upset, this time in the Gold Cup, cutting the nine-year-old to 20-1 (from 33).
"It is a wide open race this year and on his Argento form he has every chance. Money has come for him and we've shortened him accordingly," said Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes.
Unconvincing in the six starts over fences that followed his winning debut in novice company at 4-7, Jefferson reverted to hurdles with devastating effect as Cape Tribulation won at both Cheltenham and Aintree.
A return to chasing, off a mark of 142, saw him win the Grade 3 Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby on Boxing Day and then victory over 2010 Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander in the Grade 2 Argento tempted connections into a Gold Cup bid.
Cape Tribulation's jockey Denis O'Regan was stood down at Towcester on Sunday, after coming off the John Ferguson-trained Cayman Islands. Despite not riding on Monday he is booked to ride Be My Deputy for Richard Guest at Leicester on Tuesday.
Willie Mullins on Saturday put his Gold Cup hope Sir Des Champs, who has won at the last two festivals, through his paces and reported last year's Jewson winner and the big-race second favourite to be in good form.
"He worked on Saturday and worked well. Emmet Mullins rode him. He normally rides him in all his fast work," Mullins told At The Races.
"The one good thing about Sir Des Champs is that he's going back to a track that he loves - horses for courses and all that sort of thing."