• 8 b/br g Cadoudal (FR) – Libertina (FR) (Balsamo (FR))
  • Form: 21211113/1211113/311/2213–21
  • Owner: Robert Waley-Cohen
  • Breeder: Marie-Christine Gabeur

Has never finished out of the first three in 24 career starts; top-class three-year-old hurdler and novice chaser in France for Guillaume Macaire, winning two Grade Ones.

Has won on six of his 12 starts since moving to Seven Barrows and became first six-year-old since Mill House in 1963 to win the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup when triumphant in 2011 and third in same race last year. Also captured the Grade One King George VI Chase in 2010 (scheduled in early 2011) and 2012.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 24; Wins: 14; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £1,419,537

Last Run
Won the three-mile King George VI Chase by a neck from Captain Chris at Kempton Park (heavy) on 16 December.

Entries so far at The Festival (Distance – Value)
Grade One Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (15 March) 3m 2f 110y – £550,000

Henderson said: "His preparation is all going to plan. We didn't run at Newbury the other day because the ground had gone completely. Both Robert and I felt that a hard race in very, very soft ground would not achieve anything and I think that was the right decision.

"He is going to have gallop after racing on Saturday at Kempton on grass which should get him spot on. He was only six when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then wasn't just at his very best last season. I cannot tell you that he is completely different this year but he is in very good order.

"I boxed him and Binocular up last Saturday and drove them twice around the village before going to Mandown for a good gallop.

"Some cheek-pieces might just sharpen him up – there is no point being proud – they are not the prettiest things in the world but if they make him go faster why not.

"He has regained the King George and maybe he can regain the Gold Cup."


  • 8 b g Bob Back (USA) – Fashionista (IRE) (King's Theatre (IRE))
  • Form: 21/1111/1321–1
  • Owner: The Not Afraid Partnership
  • Breeder: Mrs L Eadie

Unbeaten in four starts at Cheltenham; won the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at The Festival in 2011 and followed up in the Grade One RSA Chase last year. Annexed the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury in early December & is ante-post favourite for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Jump Race Record: Starts: 11; Wins: 8; 2nd: 2; 3rd: 1; Win & Place Prize Money: £264,911

Last Run
Carrying 11st 6lb, he won the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, run over three and a quarter miles at Newbury (good to soft), by three and a quarter lengths from Tidal Bay on 1 December.

Entries so far at The Festival (Distance – Value)
Grade One Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (15 March) 3m 2f 110y – £550,000

Henderson said: "He has really got a bit to prove in that he has only really had one run outside novice chasing and that was in a handicap so he has got to do it against the big boys. It was a good performance in the Hennessy as it was in the RSA last year.

"It is a step up and I would have liked to have run him more on the way. He had one little hiccup himself and the whole winter has been the same – the ground has been desperate. His one opportunity to run came when the ground was bottomless and I am glad we did not go for that.

"He is a horse who is a bit more fragile than some of them and he wouldn't want a hard race in heavy ground beforehand."


Photographs by Ian Yates www.eyewhy.co.uk

Nicky Henderson's Cheltenham preparations