Cheltenham Festival news: Harry Fry's American added to Gold Cup field

American has been supplemented for Friday's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, trainer Harry Fry has announced.

The eight-year-old was last seen when finishing an eight-length second to Definitly Red in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham back in January, having pulled up on his previous start in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.

While Fry and owners the Jago Family Partnership are not expecting to win the Festival feature, they felt it was worth stumping up the £27,500 fee with the ground looking likely to be testing at Cheltenham next week.


Sky Bet, Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup odds:

  • Might Bite - 3/1
  • Native River - 9/2
  • Our Duke - 7/1
  • Click here for all the latest prices (NRNB & BOG)

Fry told his Betway blog: "As for American, we've supplemented him for the Gold Cup this morning (Saturday).

"With the conditions at Cheltenham looking like they're going to be soft, we decided not to run him at Kelso and go for this instead.

"After all, there's only one Gold Cup and we decided that we'd take our chance. There's also the added bonus that Noel (Fehily) will now take the ride.

"Obviously we're not supplementing him because we think we can win, but it's the blue riband event of our sport and it would be a dream come true for all of us to have a runner in the race.

"With the ground how it is, dafter things have happened and we'd all be thrilled to bits if he could run into a place."

Might be a problem...

In contrast to Fry, Nicky Henderson hopes the weather stays dry as the countdown begins for Might Bite's big day in the Friday feature.

The Seven Barrows handler reports the ante-post favourite in top trim, but has expressed a slight concern about the ground, which on Saturday afternoon was soft, heavy in places.

He said: "We are very happy with Might Bite. He did a nice piece of work (on Saturday morning) and it is all systems go for Friday.

"The slight worry is going to be the ground. He won't relish it as much as some of our others, such as Buveur D'Air (in the Champion Hurdle), but the Cheltenham going can change very quickly.

"I will do my walk of the course (on Sunday) as normal. I am hoping the ground does dry up in time for Might Bite on Friday.

"He is in great form and I couldn't be happier with him."

Nineteen stand their ground

Might Bite and American were two of 19 confirmations at the six-day stage.

Jessica Harrington relies upon last year's Irish Grand National hero Our Duke after the 2017 winner Sizing John was ruled out through injury.

Colin Tizzard's Native River will be fancied to go two places than last year after making a winning return to action at Newbury last month. The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella Rocco, runner-up 12 months ago, is also in the mix.

Willie Mullins has four hopefuls headed by Ladbrokes Trophy scorer Total Recall. Djakadam, who was runner-up in 2015 and 2016, Killultagh Vic and Bachasson make up his team.

Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf, trained by Joseph O'Brien, is on target as he returns to the track where he collapsed and almost died last March.

Other Irish-trained possibles are Noel Meade's Road To Respect, Tony Martin's Anibale Fly and Gordon Elliott's pair of Mala Beach and Outlander.

Brian Ellison's Definitly Red carries the hopes of the north following his win in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, when he had American back in second place.

Completing the list are Double Shuffle, Saphir Du Rheu, Shantou Flyer and Tea For Two.

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