The 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup was won by Native River ridden by Richard Johnson (far left)

Three previous winners are among a bumper list of 43 entries for the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup on 15 March.

Last year’s victor Native River, Sizing John (2017) and Coneygree (2015) could all potentially bid for a second success in the jump racing contest.

It is the largest field for 12 years, with nine trained by champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who is still looking for his first Gold Cup win.

Elegant Escape and Thistlecrack run for Native River’s trainer Colin Tizzard.

Elegant Escape won the 2018 Welsh National, while Thistlecrack was the winner of the 2016 King George VI Chase.

“Thistlecrack will go straight to the Gold Cup. He hasn’t got there yet in his career, but he deserves to get there,” said Tizzard’s son and assistant trainer Joe.

“With Native River, we haven’t definitely decided, but quite possibly he will turn up in the Denman Chase (Newbury, 9 February) and then on to the Gold Cup to defend his crown.”

Thistlecrack was second in last month’s King George at Kempton, which was won by Clan Des Obeaux, one of four possible Gold Cup contenders for 10-times British champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Presenting Percy, winner of the RSA Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, heads a record 24 Irish-trained entries for the big race.

Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup had 15 horses on the start line.


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