Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Cheltenham: Don't bet against Bobs Worth, Francome advises

Frank Brownlow

Published 10/03/2014

John Francome rates Fermanagh-bred horse
John Francome rates Fermanagh-bred horse

Legendary former jockey John Francome expects Nicky Henderson's Fermanagh-bred Bobs Worth to defend his crown in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Harry Topper rated a player at bigger odds.

Francome said: "I would not want to be standing in the ring laying Bobs Worth.

"He has proved he stays and has won at the Festival three times.

"He also finds jumping easier on better ground. It was hard not to be impressed with the way he got his head down and won at Leopardstown.

"It is boring but he is the one they have got to beat.

"Harry Topper would have an each-way chance and it would not worry me backing him on good ground. He stays all day and could surprise a few people."

Jockey Bryan Cooper is expected to be fit for the start of the Festival tomorrow after emerging relatively unscathed from a crunching fall at Naas yesterday.

The number one rider for the powerful Gigginstown House Stud operation was thrown to the ground when Allied Victory came to grief in the Sunday Market At Naas Racecourse Maiden Hurdle, and although rising to his feet he was assessed for some moments by paramedics. He missed the ride on Folsom Blue in the Leinster National, but no serious injuries were reported.

The Turf Club's senior medical officer Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: "Bryan was badly winded, but I can't find anything clinically wrong with him.

"He had a soft tissue injury on his forehead, just from the force of his helmet.

"He is flying out to Cheltenham, so he will have to be passed by the doctor at the course on Tuesday."

Paul Carberry was also in the wars, suffering a couple of falls, but he too is set to be back for the opening day.

Dr McGoldrick said: "Paul is fine, he was stood down just as a precaution. He has a slight ankle ligament strain, but nothing to worry about."

There was a further blow to Carberry as Gallant Oscar, his intended mount in the Leinster National, triumphed under super-sub Danny Mullins.

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