He’s had just one outing this season, producing a career-best effort in the Hennessy at Newbury in early December.
That was a most taking display on the part of Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old, who jumped really well and got every yard of the three and a quarter miles.
He beat Tidal Bay and First Lieutenant in great style, off a mark of 160. That is put in perspective when you consider Denman won his first Hennessy off a rating of 161. Add in the fact that Bobs Worth has won at the festival for the last two years and it is easy enough to make a compelling case for Barry Geraghty’s mount.
Sir Des Champs has a similar profile, having also won here for the last two years. And there is no doubt his best ever performance came at Cheltenham 12 months ago, when he jumped beautifully and travelled like a dream before cruising to success in the Jewson.
He has been brought along steadily this season by Willie Mullins, staying on strongly at Leopardstown last month to beat Flemenstar.
The theory that Silviniaco Conti is best on flat tracks will be more than tested now, but he has gone from strength to strength through the campaign, easing away from The Giant Bolster at Newbury last time.
Long Run, who won this two years ago and was third last year, has been rested since scrambling to a neck defeat of Captain Chris in the King George at Kempton at Christmas and has to be respected.
I cannot look beyond the big four and Bobs Worth to beat Sir Des Champs is the prediction.
The nap vote falls on Our Conor in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. He represents Dessie Hughes, who has hit the bar on a couple of occasions this week.
The selection has won all three of his races over flights and was very impressive when slamming Diakali by five lengths at Leopardstown on his latest appearance. Flaxen Flare finished a well-beaten fifth then and he bolted away with the Fred Winter on Wednesday, indicating that the Irish juveniles may be nicely clear of their English counterparts!