Gold Cup Entries Down To 36 As Ireland Still Lead The Way

The Gold Cup market has today been cut to just the 36 runners now from a much larger number that was first entered back in January.

There are plenty of familiar faces with no huge shocks leaving the contest very much the highlight race of the four day extravaganza at jumps racing HQ.

Presenting Percy, who is set to be having his final preparation run before the festival on Saturday at Gowran Park, is still at the top of the market with Native River just in behind him as second favourite.

The Colin Tizzard trained nine year old won this race last year in dramatic fashion when making every yard to beat the Nicky Henderson trained Might Bite.

He will be looking to defend his title this year and earlier on this week his trainer announced he will not run this Saturday at Ascot in the Grade 2 Denman Chase, as he was scheduled to, but instead will just head straight to Cheltenham.

Paul Nicholls has one of his strongest chances for many years in this feature Grade 1 contest and at this declaration stage see's himself with three possible options.

King George VI Stakes winner Clan Des Obeaux at Kempton over Christmas leads the charge for the 10 time British Champion Trainer, who could also officially enter Frodon who he was quoted this week saying "he stays longer than the mother in law" and fan favourite Black Corton, who will have to put in a career best to land this contest.

(Credit At The Races)

It would not be a Gold Cup without a cluster of Willie Mullins runners and thankfully this year we have the same with him having his strongest chance since Djakadam a few years back.

Kemboy leads the way at 9/1 for the cheltenham hall of fame trainer but he also looks to have strong each way chances this season with Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill and Al Boum Photo also in the Gold Cup Mix.

Horses that have been withdrawn for the trainer from the previous declaration stage are Acapella Bourgeois, Yorkhill and faller in the race last year Total Recall.

Other horses of note that will not be heading into the Grade 1 feature are 2017 winner Sizing John who has suffered another injury setback, Give Me A Copper, Snow Falcon and Valtor.

Clan Des Obeaux

Other races at the festival also saw some declarations cut from there rosters with now only 18 left in the Queen Mother Champion Chase with one month left until Altior bids for back to back wins in the contest.

Willie Mullins has kept his three pronged attack of Min, Footpad and Un De Sceaux in the mix but has removed Great Field who has fell on both his starts this season.

The other three horses that have departed the 2 mile event are Ozzie The Oscar, Petit Mouchoir and the late, great Special Tiara.

More horses have been removed from the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase on the Thursday of the festival leaving just a 34 possible competitors looking to take the title. Min, Footpad, Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Monalee are all still in the mix.

24 are still left in the feature race on Tuesday the Unibet Champion Hurdle with the two market leaders of Buveur D'Air and Apple's Jade still in there with Laurina hot on there heels in the betting.