Sport Horse Racing

Monday 23 April 2018

Finian’s Rainbow among seven Nicky Henderson charges up for Cheltenham Gold Cup

Trainer Nicky Henderson
Trainer Nicky Henderson

Nick Robson

Nicky Henderson feels Finian's Rainbow could be "very interesting" among his seven entries for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 16.

The master of Seven Barrows has also entered Captain Conan, Rajdhani Express, Nadiya De La Vega, Kid Cassidy, Triolo D'Alene and Ma Filleule.

Finian's Rainbow won the the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase and Henderson feels the 10-year-old could bounce back to his best following a breathing operation.

He said: "We have got seven in the Paddy Power and all of them are very possible runners at this stage, but it is just a case of assessing things nearer the time.

"Captain Conan could go, as could Nadiya De La Vega - she ran a very good race last year.

"Rajdhani Express is the horse we have always been pointing in that direction. He has done well over the summer and obviously there is no problem with jockey arrangements there because Sam (Waley-Cohen) will ride him.

"Finian's Rainbow would be the very interesting one because he has had a wind operation and I am very hopeful that he will come back to himself.

"He ran very well at Sandown on his final start last season and look what the winner (Sire De Grugy) did on Saturday - they are calling him the young pretender to Sprinter Sacre now.

"Finian's showed there that he is on his way back, but he does need good ground to be seen at his best."

Jonjo O'Neill is targeting Johns Spirit at the race after his easy victory at the last meeting at Cheltenham.

O'Neill, who won the race in 2006 with Exotic Dancer, said: "Johns Spirit is in good form and the Paddy Power Gold Cup will hopefully be the next stop for him.

"You would have to be happy with his performance at Cheltenham last time. I don't know how strong the race was, but he travelled and jumped well and won nicely.

"It will probably be a bigger field in the Paddy Power and I don't know if that will suit him, but Richie McLernon gets a good tune out of him and rides him well.

"We will go there hopeful, but that's as confident as you could be because it is always a very hot race and you have got to have a lot of luck in running."

Willie Mullins has four of the 49 entries, with Marito the shortest priced in the betting.

Champion Court, Astracad, Conquisto, Tap Night, Third Intention and Colbert Station are also in contention.

The weights are revealed on November 6.

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