Thistlecrack and Cue Card head Cheltenham Gold Cup entries

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  • Thistlecrack heads the 39 entries for the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

    The nine-year-old, who took the Ryanair World Hurdle at the 2016 Festival, is looking to continue his unbeaten record over fences.

    Following his success over hurdles, he stormed to victory in his chasing debut at Chepstow in October, following it up with wins at Cheltenham and Newbury.

    His most recent run was in the King George VI at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, which he won by three-and-a-quarter-lengths ahead of stablemate Cue Card.

    The three-and-a-quarter mile Gold Cup, held this year on 17 March, is the richest non-handicap chase in Britain, with a total prize pot of £575,000. Thistlecrack is one of five entries for trainer Colin Tizzard, who also has eight-time Grade One winner Cue Card, Hennessy Gold Cup winner Native River, Alary and Theatre Guide on the list.

    Cue Card and Alary also have the option of running in the Ryanair Chase instead on the Thursday of the Festival.

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    Reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack had been aimed at a repeat victory in this year’s race — and is on the entries list — but was retired from racing on Tuesday (10 January) following an injury setback.

    Gordon Elliott has four others entered — Don Poli, who was third in this race in 2016, Grade One-winner Outlander, Empire Of Dirt and Roi Des Francs.

    Three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Paul Nicholls has two entered (Saphir Du Rheu and Silviniaco Conti) as does 2010 victor Nigel Twiston-Davies (Blaklion and Bristol De Mai).

    Willie Mullins, who despite his dominance at past Festivals has never won the Gold Cup, will be hoping for a first with last year’s runner-up Djakadam and 2016 Mares’ Hurdle winner Vroum Vroum Mag.

    The 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds and Tea For Two, who made history when Lizzie Kelly rode him to victory in 2015 and became the first woman to ride a Grade One winner, are also among the notable entries.

    The full list is as follows:

    • Alary (Colin Tizzard)
    • Arctic Skipper (Vincent Halley)
    • Blaklion (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
    • Bristol De Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
    • Champagne West (Henry de Bromhead)
    • Cue Card (Colin Tizzard)
    • Djakadam (Willie Mullins)
    • Don Cossack (Gordon Elliott)
    • Don Poli (Gordon Elliott)
    • Empire Of Dirt (Gordon Elliott)
    • Fine Rightly (Stuart Crawford)
    • Irish Cavalier (Rebecca Curtis)
    • Kotkikova (Nicky Henderson)
    • Kylemore Lough (Kerry Lee)
    • Lord Windermere (Jim Culloty)
    • Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood)
    • Minella Rocco (Jonjo O’Neill)
    • More Of That (Jonjo O’Neill)
    • Native River (Colin Tizzard)
    • Outlander (Gordon Elliott)
    • Perfect Candidate (Fergal O’Brien)
    • Road To Riches (Noel Meade)
    • Roi Des Francs (Gordon Elliott)
    • Saphir Du Rheu (Paul Nicholls)
    • Sausalito Sunrise (Philip Hobbs)
    • Shantou Flyer (Rebecca Curtis)
    • Silviniaco Conti (Paul Nicholls)
    • Sizing John (Jessica Harrington)
    • Smad Place (Alan King)
    • Sub Lieutenant (Henry de Bromhead)
    • Taquin Du Seuil (Jonjo O’Neill)
    • Tea For Two (Nick Williams)
    • Theatre Guide (Colin Tizzard)
    • Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard)
    • Valseur Lido (Henry de Bromhead)
    • Vezelay (Emmanuel Clayeux)
    • Vroum Vroum Mag (Willie Mullins)
    • Wounded Warrior (Noel Meade)
    • Zabana (Andrew Lynch)

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