Racing: Forty-nine prospectors join Gold rush for Cheltenham

On a day when the all-weather was knocked out by frost and some punters wished the same fate had befallen the Fontwell card that produced winners at 66-1 and 25-1, a glimmer of light appeared on the horizon as the entries were announced for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The bookmakers quote Best Mate at odds as low as 6-4 for steeplechasing's Blue Riband, but the representatives of 48 other horses – a record entry – believe it is worth paying the entry fee to take him on.

On a day when the all-weather was knocked out by frost and some punters wished the same fate had befallen the Fontwell card that produced winners at 66-1 and 25-1, a glimmer of light appeared on the horizon as the entries were announced for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The bookmakers quote Best Mate at odds as low as 6-4 for steeplechasing's Blue Riband, but the representatives of 48 other horses – a record entry – believe it is worth paying the entry fee to take him on.

As ever, a perusal of the list of entries is instructive. Henrietta Knight, the trainer of Best Mate, has deemed the Welsh National runner-up Chives, Lord Noelie and, more surprisingly, the two-and-a-half miler Foly Pleasant, worthy of taking on their stablemate.

Martin Pipe, as usual, points his scattergun with nine entries, the highest number for any trainer, but among those with four entries is Nick Henderson, who includes Fondmort, favourite for this Saturday's two-mile Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot, as he tries to correct a terrible omission on his record by winning his first Gold Cup.

There are five entries from France: First Gold, familiar to British racegoers as the winner of the 2000 King George VI Chase, and Gailoorn De Mee, Kapatchi, Modulor and ScoutMaster, familiar only to those who tour the racetracks of the French provinces. All four are trained by Yannick Fertillet for the Kent-based Fergus Wilson.

Mark Pitman is also responsible for a couple of unknown quantities – not that the names are unfamiliar, rather that it is impossible to be sure whether they have retained their ability after long injury breaks. Foremost of the pair is Monsignor, impressive winner of the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle on his last outing in March 2000, but yet to start over fences, while Pitman's Goodtime George has not been seen out since falling in a novice chase at Cheltenham over two years ago.

The dual Gold Cup-winning trainer Noel Chance has entered Right To Reply, who landed his only chasing start in a novices' event at Warwick last season, while Jonjo O'Neill has two entries, both novices, in Joss Naylor and Keen Leader. Skippers Cleuch, trained in Scotland by Len Lungo, is another from that category.

Skippers Cleuch is a 66-1 chance with Ladbrokes in Gold Cup betting and those seeking a tilt could take inspiration from the success at those odds from the victory of Marcus William at Fontwell yesterday. Mick Fitzgerald looked assured of victory on the 5-6 favourite, Kyper Disco, but Marcus William rallied strongly under Barry Fenton to score by a short head. Despite the winner's odds, his trainer, Brendan Powell, was not surprised. "It wasn't a shock," he said. "If you go back, he was sixth at Kempton last year in a real good bumper."

* Yesterday's all-weather card at Wolverhampton, today's meetings at Leicester and Sedgefield and tomorrow's Newbury fixture have been abandoned due to frost.

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (13 March) Ladbrokes: 6-4 Best Mate, 10-1 Beef Or Salmon, Commanche Court, 12-1 Marlborough, 14-1 Hussard Collonges, 16-1 First Gold, 20-1 Barton, Chives, Rinci Ri, 25-1Bacchanal, Behrajan, Colonel Braxton, Gingembre, Harbour Pilot, Le Coudray, Sackville, See More Business, 33-1 Cyfor Malta, Florida Pearl, Fondmort, It Takes Time, Joss Naylor, Keen Leader, Foxchapel King, Valley Henry, 40-1 Lord Noelie, Shotgun Willy, Truckers Tavern, Whitenzo, 50-1 Bounce Back, Foly Pleasant, Horus, Iznogoud, Monsignor, Shooting Light, Stormez, 66-1 Go Ballistic, Grey Abbey, Right to Reply, Royal Auclair, Royale De Vassey, Skippers Cleuch, 100-1 Katarino, Macs Gildoran, Modulor, You're Agoodun, 150-1 Goodtime George, Kapatchi, Scout Master.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital