Bobs Worth is back on track
Part-owner Malcolm Kimmins admits Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth is likely to have plenty on his plate as he kicks off his season in what looks a mouth-watering renewal of the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
The Nicky Henderson-trained eight-year-old made just two appearances in the whole of the last campaign, claiming the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury before securing his fifth win from as many starts at Cheltenham in the blue riband in March.
He will encounter new surroundings when he heads to Merseyside this weekend and is the star name among a list of 10 entries that also include last year's winner Silviniaco Conti, Long Run, Cue Card, Dynaste and Tidal Bay.
Kimmins, part of owning syndicate The Not Afraid Partnership, said: "It is going to be a very exciting day and it looks like being a fantastic race – a mini Gold Cup if you like.
"I've been at Seven Barrows and the horse is well. He's done everything right so far in his preparation and he's ready to start.
"It is going to be a tough race, but we're looking forward to it immensely. It will be good to get him out and get him started.
"When you win the Gold Cup you inevitably set the standard. Haydock is obviously a very different track to Cheltenham, but we're not too worried about that.
"This is the first step on the way back to Cheltenham in March, which is his ultimate objective," Kimmins added.
Henderson could launch a formidable twin assault on the Grade One prize if he decides to saddle Long Run.
However, the 2011 Gold Cup hero, second in the last two runnings of the Betfair Chase, has something to prove after finishing out of the first three for the first time over fences when only fifth in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby.
Silviniaco Conti and Tidal Bay are both on course to line up for Henderson's great rival Paul Nicholls.
With stable jockey Daryl Jacob due to be in action at Ascot, Noel Fehily will come in for the ride aboard Silviniaco Conti.
Sam Twiston-Davies is in line to keep the ride on Tidal Bay having guided him to victory over hurdles at Wetherby recently.