Bobs Worth to miss Argento Chase at Cheltenham and Tidal Bay a doubt
Bobs Worth, ante-post favourite for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, will not run in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham tomorrow.
The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old was found to be not quite right following a routine check-up earlier in the week. He will now contest the Gold Cup on March 15 without a preparatory run.
Henderson said: “Bobs Worth is not going to be able to run on Saturday, which is very disappointing for everybody, including the owners.
“We very much wanted to run, but the good thing is it doesn’t affect March in any way. We were just doing a routine check on Monday, which all the horses have before they run.
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“There was something not quite right with him and it’s just going the wrong way, rather than the right way.
“We were scoping him and there was a little something there. It’s not wise to run at the weekend if he’s not going to perform to his best. It wasn’t crucial that he ran, but it was always the plan.”
The Seven Barrows handler is unworried by the prospect of sending Bobs Worth to the Gold Cup without the benefit of another run. His magnificent victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in December was his first start since he was victorious in the RSA Chase at the Festival last March.
Henderson said: “I always felt the Denman Chase [at Newbury on February 9] was too close to Cheltenham for him – he’s that sort of horse.
“Circumstances have now forced to us to go without [a Gold Cup prep run]. He’s a very straightforward horse, but it’s disappointing more than anything else.”
Tidal Bay is also reported to be a doubtful runner, with trainer Paul Nicholls describing him as “slightly lame".
The 12-year-old won the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas but Nicholls says he is “odds against” to run.
The Somerset-based trainer told Betfair: “After working this morning, he came back slightly lame. Myself and [head lad] Clifford Baker have looked him over and the problem is hard to diagnose.
“It could be either an infection brewing in his off-hind foot, and or he has pulled a small muscle, but we don’t know at the moment.
“It isn’t a serious problem – and he may well yet run on Saturday – but I thought it was best to keep everyone informed.”
Officials at Cheltenham are “extremely hopeful” tomorrow’s Trials Day meeting will go ahead as planned.
While the track has been covered for over a week to guard against frost, snow earlier this week looked problematic as it was lying on top of the covers. However, while an 8am inspection is still planned for today, officials are optimistic about the meeting.
Should the track not be fit tomorrow, Cheltenham also has the option of delaying the meeting until Sunday.