Jack added to Gold Cup field

Philip Hobbs has supplemented Farmer Jack for next Friday’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at a cost of £17,500 (€25,000).

Philip Hobbs has supplemented Farmer Jack for next Friday’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at a cost of £17,500 (€25,000).

The nine-year-old, one of 21 engaged in the race following today’s confirmation stage, has proved a revelation since upped to three miles on his last two outings.

“The owners came to see him this morning, we discussed it and we think he has got a good chance so we decided to have a go,” said Hobbs.

“What happened to Best Mate has definitely made a difference to our decision and there are doubts about some of the others as well.”

After easily landing the two-and-a-half-mile Wigan Chase at Aintree on his seasonal debut, Farmer Jack failed to get his head in front on his next four starts, all over the shorter distance.

However, when upped to three miles he saw off Gold Cup hopefuls Strong Flow and Celestial Gold in the Aon Chase, before going on to land the Racing Post Chase under top weight.

“I am not sure whether it is the trip or whether he has just improved in his recent runs, but he certainly has improved as the season has gone on,” the Minehead handler continued.

While having proved himself over further this season, Farmer Jack has yet to tackle the Gold Cup trip of three and a quarter miles, but his trainer does not see the extra distance being a problem.

“He was staying on well at Newbury and Kempton so you would think that he has every chance of getting it,” added Hobbs.

As expected, Best Mate has been taken out of the race, while new favourite Kingscliff has stood his ground, along with stablemate and last year’s runner-up Sir Rembrandt.

Kicking King and Beef Or Salmon are also still engaged, along with the Howard Johnson-trained Grey Abbey, whose participation hangs in the balance due to a swollen joint in his near-fore.

Willie Mullins has confirmed Irish Hennessy winner Rule Supreme, although he has yet to make a decision whether the nine-year-old runs in the blue riband or the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Fellow Irish handler Edward O’Grady has left in Pizarro.

Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup confirmations: Astonville, Ballycassidy, Beef Or Salmon, Celestial Gold, Farmer Jack (supplemented), Grey Abbey, Irish Hussar, Kicking King, Kingscliff, Pizarro, Present Bleu, Royal Auclair, Rule Supreme, Sir Rembrandt, Strong Flow, Take The Stand, Therealbandit, Tiutchev, Truckers Tavern, Turnium and Venn Ottery (21).

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