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Bobs Worth 7/2 for Gold Cup

December 29th, 2013

Bobs Worth has shortened in the betting to retain his Cheltenham Gold Cup crown following victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown yesterday.

The race was a mini-Gold Cup, with the first two at Cheltenham in March - Bobs Worth and Sir Des Champs - joined by Aintree Grade 1 winner First Lieutenant and RSA Chase winner Lord Windermere.

Putting last month's poor Haydock showing well and truly behind him, Nicky Henderson's star found plenty for Barry Geraghty on the run in to overhaul First Lieutenant and the front-running Rubi Ball to win by a length and a half.

There is every chance that Bobs Worth will not run again before returning to Cheltenham in March and Ladbrokes are offering the best odds of 7/2 (5/2 with most other bookmakers), with King George winner Silviniaco Conti next best at 4/1 generally.

Sir Des Champs has drifted to 10/1 with BetVictor after finishing fourth yesterday and runner-up First Lieutenant is 15/1 with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power.

Meanwhile, Sky Bet are offering odds of 5/4 on Henderson's other superstar, Sprinter Sacre, for the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March, while race sponsors BetVictor offer 10/11 with their 'non-runner, free bet' insurance if he doesn't make the line-up.

The seven-year-old was pulled up in Friday's Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton with an irregular heartbeat diagnosed. But the news this morning is cautiously optimistic, with reports that the problem had corrected itself.

Henderson said: "This is apparently virtually identical to the situation that Denman went through...both horses are supreme athletes and they are more likely to suffer from these problems due to the size of their hearts, which in both cases are unusually large. Because of the muscle density around the heart, it can cause this situation."

Denman won the 2008 Gold Cup and then had an operation that September. Although he was beaten on his racecourse return the following February, he was able to finish second to Kauto Star in the 2009 Gold Cup and then win the Hennessy a few months later.

Sprinter Sacre was previously unbeaten over fences with 10 wins from 10 races in over two years, during which the closest any horse came to matching him was 2013 Ryanair Chase winner Cue Card, who went down by 4½ lengths in the Melling Chase at Aintree in April.

He cemented his reputation as a great with two victories at the Cheltenham Festival - beating Cue Card by seven lengths to win the 2012 Arkle Chase and returning to take the 2013 Champion Chase by an incredible 19 lengths from Sizing Europe at odds of just 1/4.

Friday's Desert Orchid Chase winner, Sire De Grugy, is now 4/1 to win the 2014 Champion Chase with Sky Bet, who also offer tempting odds of 6/1 on Cue Card (5/2 with Ladbrokes).

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