RACING: Gold Cup still within Nicky's sights
NICKY Henderson feels he has not spotted an exceptional rival from another stable to prevent him from lifting the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup once again.
While re-iterating that "I don't think anything has ever changed" with Long Run, the 2011 winner who was back to form with a second King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, the focus is very much on his ante-post favourite Bobs Worth.
Successful on his previous visit to Prestbury Park in last year's RSA Chase, Bobs Worth has appeared just once this season when beating Tidal Bay in the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Just 3-1 with the sponsors, the eight-year-old missed a preparatory outing in last month's Argento at Cheltenham when Lambourn trainer Henderson was not quite happy with him.
"We would have liked another run, but that doesn't mean we can't do it," Henderson said.
"He was fresh in the Hennessy, and he'll be straighter than he was then. He lacks experience but he loves Cheltenham. There's work to do, but he's on schedule.
"This is where we we will find out where he is and what he is.
"He hasn't reached the superstar status that Sprinter Sacre has done yet, but he hasn't had the opportunity to do so."
Referring to his opponents, Henderson said: "It's very wide open and I don't think we've seen a standout horse.
"You wouldn't say Silviniaco Conti was earth-shatteringly impressive at Newbury but it was a very satisfactory trial I'm sure.
"There has been nothing that has come out this season that you would say "look at that'. Bobs Worth and Long Run have as good a chance as any."
Long Run reportedly worked very nicely when taken to the nearby Mandown gallops via a horsebox for a change of scenery, and is to have a spin after racing at Kempton on Saturday.
'GOING TO POST' SPECIAL ON HENDERSON'S PREPARATIONS FOR CHELTENHAM IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD