Flemenstar named in Gold Cup field
Racing:Willie Mullins’s Sir Des Champs and Peter Casey’s Flemenstar lead a 12-strong Irish contingent named at the first forfeit stage for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15th.
The latter’s Festival target is likely to be determined by a second run over three miles in next month’s Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
Nicky Henderson has a particularly strong hand, headed by ante-post favourite and Hennessy Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth, who is unbeaten in four starts at Cheltenham and has won at the last two Festivals.
The Seven Barrows handler is also set to saddle 2011 Gold Cup hero Long Run, last seen regaining his crown in a thrilling King George VI Chase.
Last season’s Champion Chase victor Finian’s Rainbow is also in the mix for Henderson along with Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre and Roberto Goldback.
Although without stable stalwarts Kauto Star and Denman this term, Paul Nicholls will almost certainly be strongly represented.
Charlie Hall and Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, Lexus Chase scorer Tidal Bay, Kauto Stone and What A Friend are a formidable quartet for the champion trainer.