Ahead of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham Festival in March, the 43 entries have been confirmed with three previous winners amongst the hopefuls.
2018 winner Native River heads the way and is the current favourite at 5/1, with former winners Sizing John (29/1) and Coneygree (149/1) making up the list.
According to BBC Sport, it’s the largest number of entrants since 2007 and racing fans will be excited ahead of the prestigious jump race.
Other early favourites include Presenting Percy at 11/2, Kemboy at 15/2, Clan Des Obeaux at 10/1 and Road To Respect coming in at 15’s. You can check out all of the ante-post odds at Betfair.
Mullins and Tizzard entries
For trainer Willie Mullins, he has nine entries all vying for Gold Cup success and 2019 could be the year the Irishman lands the big one.
Kemboy is likely to be his biggest hope but with Al Boum Photo, Bellshill, Yorkhill, Rathvinden and Totall Recall all in the reckoning, it’ll make for one of the most thrilling races in years.
The Gold Cup has eluded Mullins thus far and with his nine entries, the 62-year-old will be quietly confident that he’ll at least be in the reckoning come March 15th.
Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack are expected to challenge hard for Colin Tizzard, who is Native River’s trainer, but his son expects last year’s winner may entertain the Denham Chase prior to Cheltenham.
“With Native River, we haven’t definitely decided, but quite possibly he will turn up in the Denman Chase (Newbury, 9 February) and then on to the Gold Cup to defend his crown,” Joe Tizzard explained.
When quizzed about Thistlecrack, Tizzard expects him to head straight for Prestbury Park:
“Thistlecrack will go straight to the Gold Cup. He hasn’t got there yet in his career, but he deserves to get there,” he added.
The British thoroughbred can be backed at a tempting 19/1, with Elegant Escape available at 29/1 if you fancy lumping on Tizzard’s entrants.
Elliot, Nicholls and Henderson’s entries
Gordon Elliot will be looking to leave his mark on the festival again, with seven runners for the Gold Cup. Last year’s Grade 1 JLT Novices Chase winner Shattered Love is well worth a look and although the current price of 49/1 could deter punters, expect him to be there or thereabouts.
Paul Nicholls is no stranger to Gold Cup success after landing it on four different occasions, with King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux the best option for those punting on him landing a fifth triumph.
Frodon (41/1), Give Me A Copper (249/1) and Black Corton (109/1) make up the rest of Elliot’s contenders.
Champion British trainer Nicky Henderson has three strong entries to mull over, with Might Bite the best priced currently (20/1). The other two hopefuls are Valtor, who won on his United Kingdom debut in December and Terrefort, who was the runner-up in the 2018 Novices’ Chase.
Other notable runners include Bristol De Mai (39/1), trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies who has hinted that the seven-year-old might run at Haydock prior to Cheltenham: “After his fall at Kempton, he was a bit bruised but not too bad and has been cantering away ever since.”
“There is a possibility he could go to Haydock and run over hurdles in the Rendlesham Hurdle (February 16th) to give him a confidence booster and then onto the Gold Cup.”