Cheltenham Festival: Might Bite heads Gold Cup field
|Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Date: 16 March Time: 15:30 GMT|
|Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; continued on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text updates on BBC Sport website|
Might Bite heads the field as 18 runners were declared for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
Last year’s runner-up Minella Rocco and third-placed Native River both line up again.
Sizing John, champion in 2017, misses out through injury but trainer Jessica Harrington will be represented by Irish National winner Our Duke.
Edwulf, who nearly died at the meeting last year, runs after winning the Irish Gold Cup last month.
Might Bite, winner of the RSA Chase last year despite swerving dramatically in the final stages, has been ante-post favourite for the race.
Ridden by Nico de Boinville for trainer Nicky Henderson, Might Bite won the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day from Double Shuffle and Tea For Two and they re-oppose again.
Lizzie Kelly – the first female professional jockey to win at the Cheltenham Festival when triumphing aboard Coo Star Sivola on Tuesday – will be hoping to get further after being unseated at the second fence by Tea For Two 12 months ago.
Shantou Flyer, second to Coo Star Sivola earlier in the week, is set to race again.
Leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who has saddled the runner-up six times, has four runners as he seeks a first Gold Cup win.
Stable jockey Ruby Walsh rides Killultagh Vic, with Paul Townend on Total Recall and Willie’s son Patrick aboard Djakadam, who was second in 2015 and 2016. Bachasson is another Mullins challenger.
The field is completed by American, Anibale Fly, Definitly Red, Outlander, Road To Respect and Saphir Du Rheu.