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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 18:52 GMT
Gold Cup runners and riders
Gold Cup
1515 GMT, Cheltenham, Friday 16 March, 2m

Number, form, horse's name, age, weight, trainer, jockey.

By BBC Sport's Honest Frank

Verdict: Kauto Star is far and away the best horse in this field. I hope he wins and backed him at 14-1 in November.

But there's little point in getting involved at 6-4 and there is a question mark over his liking for the track. Plus, he has not raced in such a big field of runners before.

So having changed my mind three times in the last three minutes, I've decided to leave him out. It will be great for racing if he proves me wrong.

Hennessy Gold Cup winner State of Play is fresh, jumps well, and could be progressive. Exotic Dancer is similar and loves Cheltenham. Cane Brake could make the frame.

If you don't fancy any of those at the prices, the Gold Cup has a habit of throwing up a big-priced horse in the first three. My Will, Halcon Genelardais, even Bob Bob Bobbin might surprise.

Pinstickers' 1-2-3: 1 State of Play 2 Exotic Dancer 3 Cane Brake

1 12121 BEEF OR SALMON 11 11-10
Michael Hourigan IRE Andrew J McNamara
Ten times a Grade One winner in Ireland, but never in the first three from four attempts at Gold Cup. A great horse, but possibly allergic to Cheltenham. Has been flown in this time, rather than coming on an arduous ferry journey.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 10-1

2 2P-14 BOB BOB BOBBIN 8 11-10
Colin Tizzard Joe Tizzard
One 606 website user put this up as a potential Gold Cup winner. People will scoff and the horse may lack the class, but jumps well and is one of the more interesting outsiders.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 100-1

3 P-211 CANE BRAKE 8 11-10
Tom Taaffe David Casey IRE
Trainer is the son of the legendary Pat Taaffe, who rode triple Gold Cup winner Arkle. Tom trained brilliant 2005 blue riband winner Kicking King, and believes this one can make the frame.
Rating: 8/10 Odds: 14-1

4 21121 EXOTIC DANCER 7 11-10
Jonjo O'Neill Tony McCoy
Seemingly improving all the time. Three times a winner at Cheltenham this season already. On official ratings is 9lbs in weight inferior to Kauto Star, who handed him an eight-length defeat in the King George, despite two jumping blunders.
Rating: 8/10 Odds: 4-1

5 5-114 FORGET THE PAST 9 11-10
Barry Geraghty Michael O'Brien
Third in the 2006 Gold Cup when War of Attrition won with Hedgehunter second for an Irish 1-2-3 on St Patrick's Day. Last run was disappointing. Not rated as highly as stablemate In Compliance, who is ruled out with injury.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 40-1

6 5-113 HALCON GENELARDAIS 7 11-10
Alan King Robert Thornton
Brilliant winner of the Welsh National in December, but third behind Exotic Dancer at Cheltenham in January. Stable is having a brilliant week. Might prefer softer ground, but interesting nonetheless.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 25-1

7 4-26U IDLE TALK 7 11-10
Donald McCain Jr Jason Maguire
Formerly trained by Tom George in Gloucestershire. Moved to Donald McCain, the son of Grand National legend Red Rum's trainer. Unseated his rider last time.
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

8 11111 KAUTO STAR 7 11-10
Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh
Potential heir to triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate's crown as racing's favourite steeplechaser. Five wins at five different tracks, including King George VI Chase. Will win 1m bonus if he can jump round and triumph.
Rating: 9/10 Odds: 6-4

9 20-46 KINGSCLIFF 10 11-10
Robert Alner Robert Walford
Fancied to do well in previous runnings of the race, but does not look to have the form of old. Trainer enjoyed Gold Cup triumph with Cool Dawn in 1998.
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1

10 -5342 L'AMI 8 11-10
Francois Doumen Mick Fitzgerald
Highly respected French trainer won the Gold Cup with The Fellow in 1994. Jockey triumphed on See More Business in 1999.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 25-1

11 15368 MARBLE GARDEN 8 11-10
Richard Chotard FR John Kington
Don't lose your marbles and back this, however big the price. Miles behind in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle. Just not good enough.
Rating: 2/10 Odds: 1000-1

12 43-34 MONKERHOSTIN 10 11-10
Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson
Sixth in this race last year. Ran Kicking King close in the 2005 King George, but has yet to repeat that kind of performance.
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 66-1

13 3-132 MY WILL 7 11-10
Paul Nicholls Sam Thomas
Although he is the Nicholls stable's second string, he is well thought of by the champion trainer and boasts a course win. One of the more promising outsiders.
Rating: 7/10 Odds: 14-1

14 3-216F NEPTUNE COLLONGES 6 11-10
Paul Nicholls Liam Heard
The third contender for champion trainer Nicholls. Should not be considered a complete no-hoper, although would have better prospects on softer ground.
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 33-1

15 RACING DEMON Non-runner

16 151-1 STATE OF PLAY 7 11-10
Evan Williams Paul Moloney
Fine winner of the Hennessy at Newbury in November, an excellent Cheltenham trial. Welsh trainer is building a growing reputation. In 1990, another Welsh farmer trained 100-1 shot Norton's Coin to defeat hot favourite Desert Orchid.
Rating: 8/10 Odds: 9-1

17 47927 SYBELLIUS D'ARTAIX 7 11-10
Richard Chotard FR James Davies
Beaten 49 lengths when seventh in the Champion Chase on Wednesday. Has not merited his place in this race
Rating: 2/10 Odds: 1000-1

18 F-212 THE LISTENER 8 11-10
Robert Alner Daryl Jacob
Beautiful jumper, who impressed when winning at Cheltenham on New Year's Day 2006. Beaten by Beef Or Salmon in Ireland last time when he looked set for victory. Drying ground might not be ideal
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 10-1

19 2-1P2 TURPIN GREEN 8 11-10
Nicky Richards Tony Dobbin
Plenty of talent but completely unpredictable. Pulled up when well fancied in the Hennessy in November.
Rating: 6/10 Odds: 50-1

Cheltenham: Latest odds
15 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star tops Gold Cup hopefuls
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06 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing
Owner says Kauto can defy critics
22 Feb 07 |  Horse Racing
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28 Feb 07 |  Horse Racing


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