Silviniaco Conti can disprove Bobs Worth in Gold Cup revenge mission

Bobs Worth's remorseless finish in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup would have been difficult to resist but Silviniaco Conti fell at the third last and the dry ground favours him in the rematch

The two best horses from last year's Gold Cup were the winner, Bobs Worth, and Silviniaco Conti, who might possibly have beaten him but for falling at the third-last. Followers of the sport have spent an enjoyable 12 months speculating about what would have happened had the chestnut stayed on his feet.

It would have been hard for any animal to resist the remorseless finishing effort Bobs Worth produced. But conditions for that Gold Cup, run on testing soft ground, were very different to those they will meet on Friday, racing on a dry surface that has taken no rain for almost a fortnight.

Soft going is not a must for Bobs Worth and the ground was fairly dry when he scored his first two Festival successes. But the evidence of the Betfair Chase in November is that he can be vulnerable in races requiring a modicum of speed.

Perhaps that was just an off day and he seemed back to his old self when winning in Ireland over Christmas, but today's ground favours his rival. Silviniaco Conti (3.20) had the pace to win a Graded race around Aintree in his novice season and again looked quick enough when hacking up in the Charlie Hall the following autumn. He looks the most likely victor, though there is a concern about the fact that his trainer, Paul Nicholls, has yet to have a winner this week.

Last Instalment would be hard to catch if reproducing his Irish Gold Cup performance and he has some form on good ground, though that was before his leg injury. He must prove his ability to cope with this track, which is also true of Triolo D'Alene, 11th and pulled up in two previous visits.

1.30 The ground has come right for Royal Irish Hussar, who won the two key autumn trials for this race, including a defeat of Guitar Pete round here. He may have been in need of a break when flopping in December but connections now appear happy with him.

2.05 Willie Mullins has two winners and a second in the last four runnings of this race and Arctic Fire gives him another big chance. Lightly raced, he was a fine third in a Grade One behind The Tullow Tank in December, has won on good and looks leniently treated.

2.40 Red Sherlock flopped for the David Pipe team in the other staying novice hurdle this week but the yard has had three winners and seems to be flying, so Kings Palace must be the way to go at 4-1. He has twice hacked up around here, once in a Grade Two.

4.00 This can get messy but Gina Andrews is one of the more experienced riders in the field and is aboard Berties Dream, a past Festival winner who has often run well here. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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