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2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup runners - The full field for Friday's Cheltenham Festival climax

Jon Wilde in Fri. 17th March 17 Mar 2016
  • Nine horses will line up for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup
  • Check out the runners and riders for Friday's highlight
Two of the Cheltenham Gold Cup favourites in action at Punchestown - Don Cossack (left) and Djakadam (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

A select field of nine will go to post for Friday's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which Willie Mullins saddles three runners as he tries to win the blue riband event of the meeting for the first time.

The champion Irish trainer has two of the leading contenders in Don Poli and Djakadam along with outsider On His Own. 

Djakadam, the mount of Ruby Walsh, and On His Own (ridden by Patrick Mullins) finished runner-up in this race in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

Don Poli (Davy Russell) bids to become a fourth horse in the last nine years to win the Gold Cup the season after landing the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival to follow Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere.

Russell is riding Don Poli because Bryan Cooper, the jockey retained by owners Gigginstown House Stud, has chosen to partner likely favourite Don Cossack in the same colours for trainer Gordon Elliott.

More than half of the field will be trained in Ireland because John Kiely’s Carlingford Lough, ridden by Barry Geraghty, completes their contingent, while Noel Meade’s Road To Riches has been declared but is an unlikely runner having been due to run in Thursday’s Ryanair Chase.

Colin Tizzard's Cue Card heads the home team having won the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park and the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park already this season, which means he is in line for a £1million Jockey Club Racecourses bonus if he can complete the hat-trick at Cheltenham.

Paddy Brennan will ride Cue Card, a former winner of the Ryanair Chase and whose part-owner Bob Bishop sadly died less than a week after his horse’s King George victory. 

Other contenders include Alan King's Hennessy Gold Cup hero Smad Place and two runners from the Pembrokeshire yard of Rebecca Curtis, O'Faolains Boy and Irish Cavalier.

Curtis said of outsider O’Faolains Boy:
“We’ll give it a go. He has had his wind done since his last race at Cheltenham and the better ground should also help him. 
“He is in great form at form so we thought it was worth having a crack. I’ve always thought he was an ideal Grand National horse but we will get Cheltenham out of the way before making any further plans. 
“I feel this is the year to have a shot at the Gold Cup, while he could hopefully go to Aintree next year or the year after.”


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2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup runners - The full field for Friday's Cheltenham Festival climax

A select field of nine will go to post for Friday's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which Willie Mullins saddles three runners as he tries to win the blue riband event of the meeting for the first time.

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