Long Run (right) and Captain Chris are two of the 11 runners declaredPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Gold Cup showdown
on as big four declared
THERE will be no quarter given come the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup as the big four of Bobs Worth, Silviniaco Conti, Long Run and Sir Des Champs topped the 11 runners declared on Wednesday for the festival's feature contest.
Between them, the big four market leaders have won two King George VI Chases, one Gold Cup, one Hennessy Gold Cup, a Betfair Chase, two Denman Chases and an Irish Hennessy Gold Cup.
Long Run, first in 2011 and third in 2012, will wear cheekpieces for the first time on Friday as he seeks to emulate Kauto Star - the only horse to have regained the Gold Cup having lost his crown.
Last year's runner-up The Giant Bolster is back under Tom Scudamore while Tony McCoy, Jonjo O'Neill and JP McManus - responsible for Synchronised in 2012 - are represented by Grand National second Sunnyhillboy in this year's Gold Cup.
Coral Welsh National winner Monbeg Dude, partnered by Paul Carberry, takes a shot at jump racing's most prestigious prize, as do Wayward Prince, Cape Tribulation and Captain Chris.
First Lieutenant, who has been declared for the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, was the only absentee at Wednesday's Gold Cup declaration stage meaning Bog Warrior has been left in the race.
Owned, like Sir Des Champs, by Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud, Bog Warrior has also been declared for Thursday's Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Davy Russell, retained rider for Gigginstown, has been declared to ride Sir Des Champs in the Gold Cup.