RACING

Gold Cup 2018: What connections say about the main contenders

The Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, the highlight of the Festival meeting, gets underway at 3:30pm on Friday.

Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite leads the market, priced at 4/1, with Native River and Our Duke at 9/2 and 11/2 respectively.

The winner will receive a prize of £327,326, with £575,000 in prize money designated to the race.

Here is what connections say about the chances of their horses.

Might Bite – 4/1

Nicky Henderson, trainer

“Everything has gone to plan since the King George and I never wanted to run him before this.

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“I’m worried about the ground and the extra two and a half furlongs as well. But he’s been more straightforward and good this season.”

Native River – 9/2

Colin Tizzard, trainer

“He’s a fresh horse and I think he’s a better horse this year than he was last. He’s coming into it with a lovely preparation.

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“The Irish are very strong this year, but I don’t want to be negative. This is the biggest chance I’m ever going to get of winning the Gold Cup. Cue Card fell in the race when he was on the bridle, but this is a completely different horse. He’ll be grinding it out.”

Our Duke – 11/2

Jessica Harrington, trainer

“Our Duke travelled over very well. He had a good look at the place when he arrived but has settled in well and is eating and drinking. All’s good with him and he seems in great form.”

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Definitly Red – 9/1

Brian Ellison, trainer

“We always thought he was a good horse and he showed that when he won at Aintree earlier this season and then at Cheltenham. He’s always at this strongest over the last three fences and it should be tailor-made for him.

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“It’s a hard race. The form of Our Duke’s win over Presenting Percy looks very good now after the RSA, and Native River will like the ground. I’m not sure about Might Bite.

“I don’t think we’ll be far off the pace. I don’t know who will make it. Maybe Native River or Might Bite. But the ground is in our favour and he’s in good form.”

Killultagh Vic – 9/1

Willie Mullins, trainer

“He’ll relish the testing ground and should have no problem getting the trip. He’s very well. The one concern about him is his lack of experience – he fell at the last when looking as if he was going to win the Irish Gold Cup – and this will be only his fourth race over fences.

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“But it has been done before with Coneygree being the most recent example.”

Road To Respect – 10/1

Noel Meade, trainer

“He’s travelled over well and settled in great. I couldn’t be happier with him and he’s done everything right up to now.

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“I’d prefer it if the ground was better but he’s won on soft. It’s not a plus, but we don’t really know what the ground will be like on Friday afternoon, so we we’ll just have to wait and see.”

*all quotes courtesy of Racing Post, and all odds correct at time of publication

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