Nicky Henderson believes Silviniaco Conti is the major obstacle in Bobs Worth’s defence of his Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup title.
The pair went toe-to-toe in the blue riband race last term but the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti crashed out three fences from home when primed to challenge. He tasted defeat on his return at Haydock this year but following his King George triumph at Christmas, Henderson expects him to be the main rival to Bobs Worth.
“Bobs Worth was the best horse last year. Silviniaco Conti did fall when you would have to say he would have been first or second,” Henderson said.
“He’s (Silviniaco Conti) been in great form this year, so he would almost certainly be the horse I’d be the most frightened of and I think the one plus we do have is that the Cheltenham hill plays to Bobs’ strengths and he loves it.”
Bobs Worth was initially disappointing on his seasonal bow at Haydock but roared back to form with victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
He will have a fresh adversary in Irish Hennessy winner Last Instalment this time and jockey Barry Geraghty is wary of the threat he poses to Bobs Worth.
“I was fairly confident we’d see more of Bobs Worth’s old self at Leopardstown and he was good,” said Geraghty. “He (Last Instalment) has obviously been held up with injury, but I love the horse and I’d be very fearful of him.”
Noel Fehily gets the leg up on Silviniaco Conti and he has plenty of respect for both Bobs Worth and Last Instalment.
“Bobs Worth is a worthy favourite, his form at Cheltenham is very good. Last Instalment just jumped a fraction to his right the last day I thought and all his form is on flat tracks.”
Last Instalment may be rated as a major danger, but a late decision on his participation will be made as he must have some give in the ground.